By Phephile Motau
The government plans to reduce the number of ministries and state-owned enterprises by the end of the financial year 2027/28.
These form part of the six strategic policy initiatives, which according to the Minister of Economic Planning and Development Dr Tambo Gina will help the country address economic growth challenges and explore opportunities to get back to a competitive edge in a fast-changing global landscape.
The six strategic policy initiatives are contained in the Eswatini National Development Plan 2023/24- 2027/28 themed ‘Good Governance: The Anchor for Economic Recovery, Green Growth, and Sustainable Livelihoods.
In Dr Gina’s view, good governance will result in achieving a conducive political climate and fiscal consolidation, human capital development harnessing the demographic dividend and addressing youth employment and strengthening infrastructure to support economic recovery.
The report states that one of the sectoral outcomes of good governance, economic recovery and fiscal stability is restoring the clarity of the role of the public sector. “The strategy for this is to review and clarify the roles and mandates of all ministries, departments, and parastatals.
Currently, the government is making headways towards the implementation of the restructuring study of state-owned enterprises which will result in the merger, and privatisation of the institutions.
This follows a study which showed that state-owned enterprises are part of the contributors to the huge tax burden on the economy, hence a need to rationalise this component of the public sector in terms of its size and contribution to the economy to achieve the objectives of making government more efficient.
The Kingdom of Eswatini has 49 PEs and the number was on the high side considering the size of the economy and the ability to sustain these entities. The reforms aim to reduce the number of parastatals from 49 to about 30.
This will reduce the E2.4 billion transfers made to the Category A PEs to just under E700 million transfers made to ± 31 Category A PEs. Also, there is an expected saving on the E380 million worth of levies collected from the economy.