Country Report Swaziland January 2008

Economic policy: The budget policy statement is presented

In line with its medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF), which requires planning in three-year cycles, the government has released the medium-term budget policy statement for 2008/09-2010/11 (April-March). The statement, presented by the finance minister, Majozi Sithole, sets out the fiscal policy considerations that will underlie government budgets for the next three years. There is little in the statement that is new, and much of it is merely updated figures and repeated policy commitments of recent budget speeches. Strict expenditure control and improved revenue correction are again emphasised. Mr Sithole confirmed that the establishment of a Revenue Authority was planned for July 2008, with value-added tax expected to be introduced two to three years later. The work on which the statement was based had clearly been prepared prior to the release of the preliminary 2007 population census figures (October 2007, Economic policy), which reflected a negative growth rate in recent years. Thus, the statement continues to reflect the fallacious argument that the population growth rate exceeds that of economic growth and that, therefore, income per head has declined. It is clear that economic forecasting in Swaziland needs to be revised to take account of falling population numbers and the serious impact on the labour force.

© 2008 The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. All rights reserved
Whilst every effort has been taken to verify the accuracy of this information, The Economist lntelligence Unit Ltd. cannot accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any person on this information