Where in Swaziland is the leadership to save the kingdom from economic catastrophe?
Last week, the Central Bank of Swaziland could sell only one-fifth of the E750 million worth of financial bonds it needed to raise to meet the government’s short-term spending commitments.
This week it was admitted that the government did not have the money to pay for an early retirement scheme to pay off some of the 7,000 public servants it needs to shed, under instructions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), if Swaziland is to be supported in a loan application to the African Development Bank.
Following the shortfall from the bonds, there are serious doubts about Swaziland’s ability to pay wages for much longer, or to finance retrenchment packages for the public servants.
But when questioned by journalists yesterday (2 February 2011) about the financial meltdown in the kingdom he had no response to Swaziland’s immediate crisis.
Instead, he told the Swazi people, they must wait two weeks to see what will be in the budget presented by Majozie Sithole, the Finance Minister.
With breathtaking complacency, he told reporters that if Swaziland didn’t get support from the IMF, ‘... we will be in trouble even during the next financial year’.
Swaziland is on the abyss now. The IMF and the government agreed a short-term plan to help Swaziland through the coming months. A central plank of this plan was that the Swazi Government would raise money on the international financial markets to pay its bills, especially wages, over the coming months.
With the failure to raise money from the international markets, the IMF / Government plan is in tatters. The Swazi Government needs to tell the people right away what its next move is.
Dlamini is not the only one who can’t see the seriousness of the situation. Last week, King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, told his subjects that prayer would save the kingdom from the economic meltdown.