The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Ericah Shafudah has given a hint that National Budget might be released in January 2015 after the line Ministry made significant progress in the budget preparations.
If executed this will the first time that Namibia announces its budget earlier that normal and also will come in handy to support the revelations by the Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila that there is need to create more implementation time for the budget.
This comes after incessant calls by civil society group’s political parties and some ministries that Government should start announcing the budget earlier than March to allow for implementation time.
In the past Government would drag a good six months debating on budget proposals and in the end fail to implement all the projects supported by the national budget because of the lack of time. In some cases some Ministries ended up returning money to treasury even without fully implementing their projects.
Shafudah said the budget hearing at technical Vote level is now being held as from 07 – 24 October. She said this is tasked with the Treasury and Namibia Planning Commission and it entails detailed motivation and thorough scrutiny of expenditure proposals by Vote, both operational and capital expenditure.
“A typical budget session is quite involved. It entails a Budget Vote giving a detailed account of the results achieved with resources allocated during the previous year, an account of current year budget execution and outcomes; and motivation for the Medium-Term Expenditure Plan by programme,” she said.
She added that, “These representations are subjected to thorough scrutiny by the Treasury assisted by NPC to ensure that the MPTs of O/M/As are aligned to the desired outcomes of the National Development Plans. I should also hasten to add that Regional and Local Authorities, which represent communities at constituency level form an integral part of this process, ensuring that the budgeting hearing process is broadly inclusive.”
Shafudah said that once this is done the preparations will move onto the stage of Budget consolidation and drafting of the Budget Books, from November to December.
“Treasury and NPC will dedicate this period to do the drafting work of the budget books. Tabling of the Budget before the Parliament will be announced at later stage,” she said.
She added that, “The authorities intend to conclude the technical budget hearing process by the end of October. We will proceed to complete the onerous process of aligning the proposed expenditure proposals to the identified priorities, subject to the budget constraints. This will occur during the month of November so that the Executive is well apprised no later than December.”
“January 2015 is only left for polishing up and updating our projections according to latest developments and any other feedback that might have arisen from consultations.”
Shafudah also said the budget is a key instrument for translating the fiscal policy intentions of the Government into action. She in the context of the country and its principles of economic order, the Budget serves as a policy tool for Government to, among other objectives.
“It provide support to the economy and job creation through investment in strategic infrastructure and supporting private sector development it also fund the provision of critical services in the social sector and strengthen pro-poor interventions aimed at pushing back the frontiers of poverty and vulnerability. And it strengthens institutional capacity and rule of law to insure peace and stability as fundamentals for economic development and social transformation,” she said.
She added that, “Seen against these timeless objectives, the national budget formulation process goes beyond mere number crunching to addressing the bread and butter issues affecting ordinary Namibians.
The key principles underpinning our budget formulation process are inclusiveness, transparency and accountability. It is from this perspective that our Government accords great significance to the Budget Formulation Process and no single Namibian should feel left out.”