- The Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg states that government will continue to cushion emaSwati concerning the rising cost of living.
- Reveals that there is around E100 million left on the Fuel Stabilization Fund.
- Says government will cushion maize prize, as it is the country’s staple food.
By Ntokozo Nkambule
The Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg says that government will continue to cushion and subsidize the cost of living in the country, but will not cut any form of tax.
He said reducing taxes at the moment is not feasible because the government had already budgeted the amount. Rijkenberg added that cutting taxes now would lead to service delivery being affected, and might prompt the government to borrow, in order to cover the shortfall.
The Minister was speaking during a media briefing to address the current cost of living in the country held at the Ministry boardroom. He said as the government had played a huge role in cushioning the country from the rising cost of food, fuel, and agriculture input costs.
Rijkenberg observed that when it came to fuel government would continue cushioning it, even though they are quickly running out of funds. “What we built into the fuel price is an extra 50 cents which go into the Fuel Stabilization Fund, run by the Ministry of Natural Resources. This is done for times like these when fuel prices spike. The fund has been used aggressively and quickly during these price hikes. We had E500 million, but now the fund has around E100 million, he noted.
When it comes to the increase in food prices, the Minister said their key focus was on making sure that maize is affordable for emaSwati. “As the government, we understand that staple foods are different for emaSwati, but we will continue prioritizing the prize of maize, as it affects most emaSwati”