The Swaziland Government will struggle to pay public service salaries this month (November 2011), Finance Minister Majozi Sithole has admitted.
The government has nearly run out of money and only has income from taxes, and this is not enough to pay the salaries, the AFP reported today (9 November 2011).
Until now, the government, which is nearly bankrupt, has been paying civil servants’ salaries from foreign reserves ‘which have fallen so low that the International Monetary Fund warned of risks to the local emalangeni currency, which is pegged to South Africa's rand’, AFP reported.
Majozi Sithole told AFP, ‘We will do our best to pay at the end of November but it is difficult. We have serious fiscal challenges right now.’
Swaziland is paying its bills only through tax collection, which Sithole said would not generate enough money to pay the salaries for the kingdom's 35 000 civil servants.
‘The revenue we are able to collect is not sufficient to cover our expenses,’ said Sithole.
Unions say they will continue to oppose salary cuts, lashing out at the IMF for not taking them seriously.