It is the time of the year when expectations about the Budget take centre-stage. The Minister of Finance, Hon. Ipumbu Shiimi yesterday tabled the national budget for the 2021/22 financial year. Most of that money has been allocated to government ministries.
Today, Biashara news takes a look at the winners and losers of the 2021/22 financial year budget. The budget for the 2021/22 financial year is designed to invest in the future, stabilize the economy and provide an impetus for economic recovery. This year’s budget is under the theme: “Boosting Resilience and Recovery” The national budget for 2021/22 has a total volume of N$67.9 billion. The budget revenue is projected to decline by 6.1 per cent to N$52.1 billion, from the estimated N$55.5 billion in 2020/21.
Winners- Government ministries and other bodies
Justice has been done to most of the ministries. Some good allocations have been made this year. Provisions would revive investments and demand however, the big question abound on how the budget can be inclusive in its approach and delineate a roadmap for the creation of job opportunities.
The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture
A total of N$13.8 billion, equivalent to 23.2 per cent of the total allocation has been given to the ministry of Education, Arts and Culture. Higher Education, Technology and Innovation gets N$3.1 billion of the total allocation of which N$851 million is for UNAM, N$488 million for NUST and N$1.2 billion for NSFAF. With most schools having online classes, it’s safe to say this allocation is fair and if these resources are put to good use, they can improve our education system.
Ministry of Health and Social Services
During the allocation, the Namibian government had in mind countering the impacts of COVID-19 with a broad investment initiative. A total of N$8.1 billion has been allocated to the MoHSS and this is 13.6 per cent of the total non-interest expenditure to, among others, support the national response on COVID-19, the associated roll-out of the vaccination plan, acquisition of pharmaceuticals and continued provision of services countrywide.
The Ministry of Finance
The Ministry of Finance is allocated N$4.7 billion with an amount of N$2.6 billion of the total budget allocated for PSEMAS specific needs, N$484 million is ring-fenced under PSEMAS for the procurement and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine while Political Party funding is allocated N$103.9 million. An amount of N$45.0 million is allocated to DBN to support the Bank SME lending and youth entrepreneurship financing facilities, N$90 million is earmarked for a targeted budgetary transfer to AgriBank to further support interventions in the agricultural sector, N$15 million is allocated for the establishment of the Project Preparation Fund in 2021/22 and totaling N$96 million over the MTEF to support capital and PPP projects off-take, N$79 million is earmarked for the establishment of NAMRA, on top of the budgetary allocations to the existing departments, with N$39.0 million going to the Financial Intelligence Centre is allocated. The Central Procurement Board is allocated N$32.0 million, while the Financial Literacy Initiative is allocated N$2 million, and The Contingency Fund is allocated N$200.0 million.
The Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare
A total of N$5.4 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, equivalent. These funds are given to aid the social safety net programs and also to support the fight against gender-based violence. We hope to see a decrease in GBV cases this year.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Safety and Security
A total budget of N$5.7 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Safety and Security.
The Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs
The situation in countries like Syria reminds us that our freedom isn’t free, and we’ve got to be willing to pay for the assets, the personnel, the training that’s required to make sure that we have a credible defense force. For this reason, the government has allocated a budget of N$5.4 billion to the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs. This came as a defense investment and this amount will be used to compensate for health defense during these unusual times.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform
It’s proven; Investing in agriculture is less risky than investing in the Stock Market, as you are investing in a physical plot of land whose value will only appreciate over time. A total of N$1.7 billion has been allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform.
Ministry of Justice
Namibia’s justice system has come under scrutiny the past few years, especially after the Fishrot case. Many Namibians say they live in constant fear of being caught in a system where official procedures are usually irrelevant, guilt is presumed, and the only way out is through bribes and connections. Could this be because of a lack of funds to carry out proper investigations? If that’s the case, a budget of N$491.4 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Justice, with N$371.2 million going to the Judiciary and the Anti-Corruption Commission is allocated N$62.8 million to enable the Commission to perform its functions optimally. The transport sector receives N$2.5 billion.
The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development
A total of N$1.6 billion has been allocated to The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to support increasing provision for sanitation infrastructure, land servicing and bulk water, sewage and electricity supply services.
The Ministry of Public Enterprises
After the Air Namibia Liquidation, many people slammed the Public Enterprises ministry for not rescuing the airline company. If the reason was due to lack of funds, a budget of N$733.4 million has been allocated to them under this financial year.
The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation
International Relations and Cooperation receives N$ 827.7 million. National Assembly is allocated N$117.2 million, while the National Council receives a total of N$88.4 million
Office of the Prime Minister
An amount of N$417.0 million has been allocated to the Office of the Prime Minister. The National Emergency Disaster Fund has recently been capitalized with N$100 million from the Contingency Fund to boost its responsiveness to the prevailing emergency conditions and vulnerabilities. A further N$100 million is additionally allocated to the Fund to shore up the Fund capacity over the year, noting the challenges arising from the acts of nature.
The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development
To facilitate trade and industrialization objectives, an amount of N$159.8 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development.
Women and the girl child
No Vat for sanitary pads; it’s been approved. It’s great that the government is taking the issue of sanitary pads seriously.
Losers- Socio Entertainment
The government will increase the excise duties on alcohol and tobacco. A 340ml can of beer or cider now costs an extra 14c, a 750ml bottle of wine costs an extra 26c, a bottle of 750 ml spirits, including whisky, gin or vodka, has increased by N$5.50c, a packet of 20 cigarettes costs an extra N$1.39c, 25 grams of piped tobacco now costs 47c more, and a 23-gram cigar is now N$7.71c more expensive.
Source: FY2021/22 Budget Statement on www.mof.gov.na