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GOVT SECURES LOAN TO SETTLE E3BN ARREARS

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EZULWINI – Government has secured a loan to settle its arrears amounting to over E3 billion.


This was disclosed by Finance Minister Neal Rijkenberg during the public procurement gala dinner convened at the Royal Swazi Spa on Wednesday. The minister said the loan currently awaits approval within formal structures which included Cabinet and Parliament prior to being paid out to the affected companies.        


The minister acknowledged that they could not keep their earlier promise to have fully settled arrears to suppliers and service providers by the end of September due to challenges which he did not disclose.
“We have secured a loan to settle arrears in full because we appreciate and understand the importance of paying our suppliers on time. We will prioritise paying the private sector with intent to invigorate the economy,” said Rijkenberg.


Rijkenberg said they hoped payments would be made between February and March. He further promised that soon after settlement, they would ensure that suppliers got paid on time.


The minister had not responded to texted questions as to how much was the loan, where it had been sourced and what was the current value of arrears by the time of compiling this report.


Reiterated


The minister has on several occasions reiterated the State’s commitment to ensuring that the private sector grows in order to significantly contribute to the country’s economy.
He earlier said since he assumed office, they had managed to pay up to E1 billion and continued to make payments as and when enough revenue had been collected to pay off some of the debts.   


Rijkenberg said they had to ensure that the E21.83 billion of the national budget was fully funded to avoid a situation where they would be prompted to delay payments as a result of the lack of funds.


It should be mentioned that at the last update, it had been reported that arrears were at around E3 billion.  
Central Bank of Eswatini Governor Majozi Sithole recently also mentioned that it remained important to remember that the 2019/20 national budget had been crafted under trying times, where government had very limited fiscal space for financing its development programme.


“Arrears have escalated as revenues continue to decline visa-vis expenditures. Furthermore, prospects for growth on both the regional and global fronts indicate that there is pressure everywhere, especially from trade tensions between the world’s largest economies. This will not bode well for the open domestic economy,” said Sithole.

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