by Lazarus Amukeshe
THE government is set to release a portion of the funds for the coming financial year without running the national budget through parliament.
This would be so because of the coronavirus that has disrupted normal processes.
Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi said the tabling of the budget, which was slated for today, would be postponed till further notice.
The Namibian Constitution dictates that the Ministry of Finance presents the country’s expenditure plans and revenue forecast at the end of every end of the financial year, which falls on 31 March.
Shiimi attributed the delay in the tabling of the national budget to the declaration of a state of emergency on 18 March by the president due to the Covid-19 outbreak. As a result of the outbreak, gatherings have been limited to not more than 10 people, and consequently, the National Assembly has been adjourned until further notice.
The minister said to avoid the interruption of government services, his ministry would use a provision within the State Finance Act, which provides for a continuation authorisation, which would see that funds of up to 33% of the 2019/20 budget are released, pending the passing of the Appropriation Act (national budget) by parliament.
That is equal to at least N$21 billion, if calculated on last year’s N$66,5 billion budget.