Shiimi set to table new national budget

Niël Terblanché

As the end of February approaches, all eyes will be on the National Assembly, where the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises, Iipumbu Shiimi’s budget presentation will offer insights into Namibia’s economic trajectory for the next year.

Shiimi is set to table the national budget for the 2024/2025 financial year in the National Assembly on 28 February 2024.

This current year’s budget, themed ‘Economic Revival and Caring for the Poor,’ was aimed at striking a balance between stimulating economic growth and extending a helping hand to the nation’s most vulnerable people

The budget reflected the government’s dual commitment to both fiscal responsibility and social welfare.

Last year, Minister Shiimi unveiled an N$84.6 billion budget, marking a 9.7 percent increase from the previous year’s figures.

This increment stressed the government’s efforts to navigate the country through economic challenges while ensuring that social safety nets remain robust and accessible.

In his previous budget speech, Shiimi emphasized the government’s acute awareness of the hardships faced by many Namibians, pledging to address these challenges through a budget that was pro-sustainability, pro-poor, and pro-growth.

The 2023-2024 budget laid the groundwork for this approach, focusing on reducing the budget deficit, supporting the poor through various social safety nets, and optimizing economic growth.

Despite the economic hurdles, the country’s economic growth was projected to moderate to 3.3 percent in 2023, with a slight deceleration to 2.2 percent expected in 2024, reflecting the volatile nature of mining production estimates and their impact on the economy.

The national budget is a critical instrument for the Namibian government, serving not only as a financial blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year but also as a statement of policy priorities and economic direction.

Historically, Namibia’s national budgets have aimed to address key challenges such as unemployment, poverty, and income inequality, while also fostering an environment conducive to economic growth and development.

Through careful allocation of resources, the government seeks to invest in infrastructure, education, healthcare, and social services, thereby laying the foundation for a more prosperous and equitable society.

As Minister Shiimi prepares to present the 2024/2025 budget, stakeholders from all sectors of the economy are keen to see how the government plans to navigate the delicate balance between fiscal consolidation and the need to stimulate economic recovery in the aftermath of global and local challenges.

The upcoming budget is expected to further articulate the government’s strategy for sustainable development, highlighting investments in sectors that promise long-term growth and stability, while ensuring that the social welfare of the nation’s poorest citizens is not overlooked.

The tabling of the next year’s budget comes at a time when Namibia, like many countries around the world, grapples with the economic repercussions of global uncertainties.

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