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IS GOVT CANDID ABOUT ITS FINANCIAL POSITION?

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What is happening with government delivery has got me thinking these days.

I am thinking and wondering if government is candid, not only to the people of Swaziland but also to itself.  Why is it that what government says publicly is not in sync with its actions? Government tells the nation something else but its actions say something different. To me it seems it is not a mistake but deliberate because mistakes happen on rare occasions but something that happens daily and deliberately is not a mistake. Government always says it wants to give the nation the best healthcare but what we witness are always complaints that there are no drugs in hospitals. Whether in denial mode or trying to cover up, government came out to say there was no drug crisis in the country and all was well. But what we see even today is the complete opposite of what it said. Government committed itself in the Maputo Declaration and promised to give a certain percentage of our budget to agriculture. What a great move that was as food security is important for any State. But what do we see in the budget? Is it getting to the percentage it committed to or it is doing the exact opposite? Government told us that it would provide tractors to farmers which tractors would be at a subsidised rate and farmers should use them. A great move again, but what about implementation? Is that surprising? Not for this government. While not fulfilling the tractor promise it then told farmers to pay some money so that they would be provided with farm inputs at a subsidised amount. A great move again, that had a huge potential to benefit the country in terms of food security.

The farmers, after realising the benefits of such a move, decided to pay the money. What is surprising though is that the farmers are no longer getting what was promised to them and the farming season is well into its course. Is this a mistake or is government robbing people of their money and using it somewhere and then fail to deliver what it promised the people? Is our government honest when it says it wants the country to produce enough food to sustain the country? There is always an excuse which has to do with finances and it is mostly a justifiable excuse. But I want to differ and state that in my opinion government is deliberately frustrating the people of Swaziland in most instances. If the farmers paid for the tractors and the farm inputs, where is their money then? If government is failing to deliver on its promise, it should immediately refund the farmers so that they may be in a position to source these things somewhere else. This led my thinking to the elderly grants issue and the civil servants not getting an increment. In my opinion there is just no justification in not giving the elderly their grants when government clandestinely decided to award a salary raise to some of its senior officials. To me that says government is deciding to give to those it considers more important or it is a case of pleasing its friends.

What I have also realised, in my thinking, is that in some departments, it is not just what we witnessed with the award of salaries to a few while ignoring others but there is strategy to give the salary raise to others while ignoring the others. In this strategy it will not be clear that there is a salary raise yet there is. I will just give one example of what I realised. How many times have we witnessed or read in newspapers, with no denial of same, that there were promotions at the Royal Swaziland Police sevice? How many people have been promoted? While thinking about this, I realised that this was a salary raise in disguise. When a person gets a promotion, that promotion comes with some raises even in the salaries. Those are just salary raises for the promoted individuals and they will never complain. The question to me, therefore, is where will the money for paying the promoted officers come from because we do not have money as a country such that we fail to give the elderly their grants? I am therefore of the view that government has money but it wants to share it among its friends and not give it to the suffering people of the country. I therefore think and believe that government is not being honest and candid when it says there is no money. Promotions for example can wait until the country is in a better financial position.

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