Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Discussing the Swaziland government budget

Swaziland's government is working on a new budget. Non governmental groups who work to fight poverty in the nation are telling the government what they would like to see included to help the poor.

A coalition of NGO's would like to see measures that will help the incomes of the poor to help grow the economy in the country. The Swazi Observer recently attended a meeting to discuss the budget, and received the comments of an economist that works for NGO's.

Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental organisations (CANGO) Economist Thembinkosi Dlamini said poverty manifests itself in the lack of equal opportunities to access basic needs like employment, food, income and wealth, and as such, the budget needs to address this.

Speaking during a pre-budget dialogue hosted by the organisation in conjunction with the Council of Swaziland Churches, he said government's increase of the elderly grant from E300 to E500 per quarter was a positive move in this regard.

He also said the allocation of E15 million to the Children's Unit was an indication of government being committed towards advancing, fulfilling and protecting children's rights while the allocation of E45 million to revamp the agriculture sector as a direct outcome of the Agricultural Summit held in 2007 was a major milestone.

"But where is the money?" he wondered.

Meanwhile, Dlamini noted that macroeconomic stability and accelerated economic growth was based on broader participation while empowering the poor to generate income and reduce inequalities.

He said as set out in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Action Plan (PRSAP), its pillars included fair distribution of the benefits of growth through fiscal policy, human capital development, improving the quality of life of the poor and improving governance and strengthening institutions.

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