By Confidente Reporter
GOVERNMENT might end up re-advertising most of the tenders it had awarded where work hasn’t commenced depending on when financial resources to fund them will be available, Confidente has learnt.
This development comes in the wake of a Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein’s directive last week that saw a moratorium on state tenders put in place to shield Government from recommitting itself as well as to re-channel part of the money from the national budget to pressing national problems like drought and water shortage the country is currently faced with.
Schlettwein in the directive which was made on September 12 said no tender awards should be made until such a time that the financial year 2016/2017’s budget review and the re-appropriation of capital projects is finalised. Speaking from New York, Tuesday, Schlettwein said big Government projects like the construction of the N$1 billion Office of the Prime Minister might end up being re-advertised again depending on when money will be available for the projects to kick start. “All depends on the availability of funds and therefore the outcome of the mid-year budget review. For now the directive as issued stands. “The directive covered all projects for which the tendering process has not yet been concluded. This could include phased projects where the tendering process for a distinct phase has not been finalised,” he said. Schlettwein’s sentiments come shortly on the heels of his comments that the Finance Ministry is contemplating slashing the operational budget during the mid-year budget review in November.
The sentiments by Schlettwein come in the wake of Namibia’s economic outlook being revised downwards by Fitch, an international ratings agency. The agency made its forecast based on the country’s budget deficit that stands at 8.3 percent of the gross domestic product in the 2015/16 national budget. In a bid to reign in the budget deficit Government, the Ministry of Finance had in previous months frozen the filling of any civil service vacancies this year to raise at least N$750 million needed in drought relief aid to urgently feed nearly 600 000 people. Also as part of stringent fiscal consolidation measures, Government now requires ministries to formulate monthly budgets where they outline what they intend to use the requested money for before Treasury approves and subsequently releases the funds to the ministries. Those measures came hot on the heels of another Government decision in June to slash the national budget by 7.4 percent which translates to N$4.9 billion from the N$67 billion national budget barely three months after it was presented. The Ministry of Finance also cut the projected 2017/18 national budget by 3.1 percent. Treasury blames among other things macro-economic factors like a weaker currency, low revenue from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and poor performance of economies of the behind the volatile economic conditions country’s major trading partners as the major driving force.
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