Eswatini Daily News

By Ntombi Mhlongo
 
Unlike last year when they came in early January, SACU receipts for the Kingdom of Eswatini are expected next month.

This was confirmed by the Ministry of Finance’s Communications Officer Setsabile Dlamini.
 
“We have not received the forecasted SACU money. This is because the meeting of the Council of Ministers of Finance was postponed to the end of this month. So, we expect that the money will come during the first week of February,” Dlamini said.
 
Even though the exact amount is not known yet, it is expected that it will be less than what the country received at the beginning of last year. Last year, the Kingdom of Eswatini received about E6 billion as SACU receipts and this reflected a significant increase from an anticipated E4.3 billion.
 
At the time, Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg explained that the increase in Southern African Customs Union (SACU) receipts were due to the hike in levies for importing certain vehicles as well as from channelling fuel suppliers to importing most of the commodities from South Africa instead of Mozambique.

The revenue receipts from SACU finance more than 50 per cent of the national budget, which is used by the government for the construction of roads, building hospitals, buying medication, and paying grants and civil servants’ salaries, among many other things.

The money set to be received in February is the final trench of the 2022/2023 financial year SACU receipts.
 
The government desperately needs the money following that the economy has remained vulnerable as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the political unrest, has worsened Eswatini’s economic position.

The government has a lot on its plate, and the public expects it to prioritise the exercise of fixing roads, dealing with the drug shortage in health facilities, and providing finances for the education sector.

In his mid-term budget review, which he presented on November 28, 2022, Minister Neal did highlight that the country was facing a challenge following a decline in the SACU revenue. In the half year 2022/23, Eswatini received E 2.9 billion from SACU receipts compared to E3.2 billion in the year 2021/22. 

He highlighted that this source of revenue continues to prove volatile and there is little control to manage it.

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