• Minister says tax rate in the country is generally lower than in Africa, and other neigbhouring countries
  • Acknowledges that there has been wasteful expenditure from government

Photo Credit: www.insidebiz.co.sz

By Ntokozo Nkambule

The Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg says their focus as the government has been to reduce expenditure, not increase taxes.

The Minister was speaking during the Tax Indaba 2022, hosted by Business Eswatini at the Royal Villas, Ezulwini. “As a government we realized it wouldn’t be feasible to increase taxes, especially in the economic climate we were in. This is why over the past three years, we have been reducing the national budget, which is not something easy to do” he noted.

Rijkenberg also disclosed that the country’s rate of tax is lower than the general rate of tax on the continent, and generally in the region. He said Eswatini’s tax rate is at 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to the 17% tax rate of GDP in Africa.

He said the feeling of emaSwati being overtaxed is however, justified given the current economic climate, with prices going up every day. Rijkenberg reiterated that their aim as government is not overtaxing emaSwati.

The Minister added that the most important thing was to fix the macro economy of the country. “We have been on an unsustainable path, 7.5% fiscal deficit where we come from is unsustainable. That means the country was literally living on debt. We are currently on 4.5% fiscal deficit at the moment, and our aim is 1.5%” he said.

He conceded that there has been wasteful expenditure in certain aspects from the government perspective, but stated that they were working tremendously hard to reduce it. Rijkenberg noted that he believes that the country’s economic growth will continue to grow because of the measures that they have put in place over the past three years.

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