The 2015/16 National Budget presented by the Finance Minister, Honourable Mr. Calle Schlettwein on 31 March 2015 is the first budget to be tabled under the new Namibian Government.
“This budget was preceded by high expectations of reforms from all walks of life in Namibia. The budget has been presented at the backdrop of the aftermath of the global economic unease that culminated in the collapse of the global oil prices. This prompted different government interventions or responses around the world,” commented Mr. Vetumbuavi Mungunda, Chief Executive at Standard Bank Namibia, at a recent post-budget review event sponsored by Standard Bank Namibia, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Liberty and Namibia Media Holdings.
“The business environment remains extraordinarily uncertain and the markets such as the foreign exchange and interest rate markets will be unusually volatile. However, it is expected of us as business leaders to form some judgement of the future for our own businesses and economy in the face of this volatility and uncertainty,” Mungunda said. He continued: “In an environment of uncertainty we, as business leaders, have a greater need to understand the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
Mungunda stated it is important that announcements made in the Budget speech are followed by quick legislative and regulatory changes. This is required to give effect to the Budget announcements as soon as possible which ensures the intended impact is transferred to the economy. “In the last year’s budget an announcement was made by the previous Finance Minister about a reduction in the corporate tax rate. This never materialized, because it was never gazetted,” he said.
During the past year, there has been an alignment in optimism and improved macro-economic parameters. Monetary policy was afforded space for expansion as one of the greatest challenges and inflation declined.
Mungunda said the budget gave due importance to all sections of the economy and tried to enhance the ease-of-doing business and infrastructure development; while keeping its focus on dealing with poverty alleviation and social inequalities.
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