Finance Minister Presents E29.4 Billion Budget

By Phiwa Sikhondze

The Minister of Finance, Neal Rijkenberg today presented the 2024/25 budget of E29.42 billion in Parliament, under the theme ‘Nkwe for growth! To hit the ground running.’

The budget outlines the fiscal policy, revenue collection, expenditure allocation, and economic outlook of the country for the 2024/25 financial year.

The total budget for 2024/25 is E29.42 billion, an increase of 11.3% from the previous year. It is financed by domestic revenues of E26.99 billion, grants of E0.59 billion, and borrowing of E1.84 billion.

The Ministry of Education & Training as well as the Ministry of Health were allocated the lion’s share in this year’s budget.  The Minister revealed that the MOET has been allocated E5 billion and health is allocated E3 billion, representing 27% of the total budget.

Rijkenberg said the significant allocations in the aforementioned sectors aim to provide quality and accessible social services, especially for vulnerable and marginalized groups. Minister Rijkenberg emphasized the need for additional funding in these sectors, owing to the concerns expressed by the nation.

“Mr. Speaker, the outcry at Sibaya around the problems in the Ministry of Health, as well as from the public in the submissions for the budget speech on the virtual platforms, emphasized the need for additional funding to turn around the Ministry of Health and for this reason, we have allocated E250 million more to the health budget bringing it to a budget of E3 billion. This represents 10% of the total budget,” Rijkenberg said.

“Government is allocating E3.94 billion in the recurrent budget, E200 million in the capital budget to the Ministry of Education and Training, E194million in the OVC fund and E647 million for scholarships, equaling a total of E5 billion for the provision of education and training at all levels in the country. This represents 17% of the total budget spent on educating Emaswati,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the budget for the Ministry of ICT has been increased by E80 million from the previous financial year to E542 million. This provides E50 million for the completion of the construction of the Biotechnology Park at Nokwane. The park is expected to have a significant impact on the economy, with projected GDP growth of 0.25% in 2025 and 2026, and 0.5% in 2027 and 2028 respectively.

The Ministry of Agriculture on the other hand will receive E1.55 billion.

The budget also includes provisions for road maintenance and rehabilitation. The Minister announced a provision of E390 million for road maintenance and major rehabilitation.

The government has also allocated an amount of E440 million to the Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development to continue with rural development services. Part of this allocation will go into the Rural Development Fund (RDF), and the Micro Projects Community Development Fund (CDF).

“Government will again allocate E177 million to the Rural Development Fund (RDF) and E183 million towards the Micro Projects Community Development Fund (CDF), as these projects continue to deliver opportunities and infrastructure in the rural areas in Eswatini and create a significant economic impact,” the Minister said.

The minister also allocated funds for other sectors, such as tourism and environment, energy, natural resources, public order and safety, debt service, and labour. The minister said that the government was investing in the development and diversification of the productive sectors, as well as the improvement and expansion of the infrastructure and utilities. He also said that the government was enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery, as well as the security and stability of the country.

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