Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, says government is going ahead with plans to cut its wage bill, which takes up almost 50 percent of its annual revenue.
The minister, however, said there will be no job losses, as the plan will be achieved through freezing recruitment and replacing vacant positions with those within the civil service.
Schlettwein said the wage bill ‘clouds out’ the ability of the government to provide services such as health and education.
“We are not putting people on the streets. We will keep freezing positions and stop growing.”
He said it was important for Namibia to live within its means and not be forced to borrow more money.
“We have to be humble, when we ask for salary increases. We cannot be too generous with our demands.”
The minister added that following three years of consolidation and budget cuts, the slow down experienced by the economy is about to come to an end.
“A moderate recovery of about 1.2 percent is projected for this year, which will only slowly pick up to above two percent next year and three percent a year after.”
He said the government wants to ensure that the budget is fully funded through budget revenue and a predictable borrowing plan, anchored on an effective debt management strategy and regular monitoring of stocks and flows.
“Following the development and adoption of the asset management policy last year, we should proceed to give effect to the policy intentions by, among others, developing various options for better utilising and managing public assets.”
The policy reforms include the private-public partnership legislation.
“We should now focus on realising operational efficiency in the implementation of these key policy initiatives by fast-tracking implementation modalities over the next six months.”
Talking about tax collection, Schlettwein said the tabling of taxation proposals announced in the budget, both for customs and excise and domestic tax, are a critical milestone for the Revenue Management Program, alongside the recovery of outstanding tax arrears and a visible tax collection effort to bring all potential taxpayers within the tax net.