By Phephile Motau
The government revenue including grants in the 2023/24 fiscal year is projected to reach E24.64 billion, according to the Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg.
This is 30 per cent of GDP and an increase of about five percentage points on the 2022/23 budget. The minister said Southern African Customs Union (SACU) receipts will contribute E10.25 billion from E5.8 billion in the previous year. Non-SACU revenue is budgeted at E13.75 billion from E12.8 billion, a growth of seven per cent.
He said total income taxes are projected to be E6.98 billion in 2023/24 a slight increase from the previous year’s budget. The minister said this would be because of higher expected growth and employment in 2023/24 compared to 2022/23.
“Out of this, corporate income taxes are E1.8 billion and personal income taxes are E4.5 billion. Total taxes on goods and services are expected to be E6.13 billion. This is mainly value-added tax (VAT) which is budgeted at E4.5 billion and fuel taxes amounting to E1.36 billion.”
Rijkenberg said in the 2022/2023 fiscal year, the government revenue and grants are projected to amount to E18.97 billion, corresponding to 25 per cent of GDP.
The projected revenue collection displayed a significant shortfall against the initial budget of E19.25 billion, largely attributed to the nine per cent decline in SACU revenue.
“Also, other causes of the poor performance in the current fiscal year 2022/23 are the post-Covid-19 and political unrest effects,” he said.
He added that despite the significant underperformance of actual revenue receipts against projections in the previous fiscal year, revenue receipts were still at record highs.
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He said SACU receipts for Eswatini will increase by 102 per cent from E5.8 billion in 2022/2023 to E11.75 billion in 2023/2024. This is the highest amount that the country has ever received from the regional bloc and was driven by a higher than-projected outturn of the 2021/2022 Common Revenue Pool (CRP), a 25 per cent increase in the projected size of the CRP for 2023/2024compared to 2022/2023 and an increase in Eswatini’s share of total intra-SACU imports from 9.6 per cent in the revenue sharing framework for 2022/2023 to 10.8 per cent in 2023/2024.
The minister also tabled the regulations for the SACU Stabilization Fund where the proposed to put E1.5 billion into the Stabilization Fund to cater for any reduced SACU receipts in the future.
“As this year’s budget is driven by sustainability, this Fund should ensure that we remain on a sustainable path in the long term,” he said.