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Swaziland - Budget speech 2006

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Introduction

  1. Mr. Speaker, "this is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it". It is once again an honour and privilege for me to present the budget for the 2006/2007 financial year, as well as projections for the two subsequent years, to this Honourable House. I wish to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the support I have received from Their Majesties, Cabinet colleagues, members of both Houses of Parliament, government officials, civil society and the entire Swazi nation.


  2. I am grateful to His Majesty for the rich and well-articulated policy speech during the official opening of Parliament last week. His excellent review of the socio-economic situation of the country and the global economy could never have been better. We thank you Wena Waphakathi.


  3. In her book entitled "The Great Controversy", sister Ellen G White says the intention of her book is "not to present new truths…but to bring out facts and principles which have a bearing on coming events". The same is true of this budget statement I present today, in the sense that it provides a review of the state of the economy and provides the necessary future interventions.


  4. Mr. Speaker, the budget I present here today has been prepared under very hard economic conditions with barely a 2% GDP growth rate. This budget continues to be in line with the main priority areas for the coming financial year and in the medium term, which are: poverty alleviation, HIV/AIDS, employment creation, food security, sound macroeconomic management, robust economic growth and revenue diversification.


  5. Mr. Speaker, fiscal sustainability remains key to macroeconomic sustainability and it requires strict measures in the allocation of limited resources. This implies that with the limited resources, priority has to be given to the on-going development programme and related recurrent requirements. This budget is responding to the recommendations of our cooperating partners, which is to target a fiscal deficit around 2% of GDP and ensure a balanced budget in the medium term. This has been made possible by the improved revenue situation.


  6. Mr. Speaker, in 2006/07 Government will introduce a computerized commitment system that will enhance expenditure control. Government will also improve the procurement system and start reforming the public enterprises. This budget increases resources to the Health sector and Primary Education. In addition, the government is determined to make 2006/07 the first year of implementation of an overdue civil service reform that would bring down the wage bill, starting with the voluntary retirement programme. Last but not the least, the Government is stepping up efforts to decisively fight corruption by passing a new anti-corruption bill during the current sitting of Parliament, and strengthening the Anti-Corruption Commission. We believe that with these and other measures, the 2006/07 budget will prove to be a turning point in re-establishing expenditure controls and fiscal sustainability in Swaziland.




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