The national budget for Swaziland presented last month (February 2011) could prove to be one of the most important in the the kingdom’s recent history. Swaziland is close to economic meltdown and the government is prepared to go cap in hand to the African Development Bank to get a loan to allow it to pay its bills.
But, before it can secure a $US75 million (E525 million) loan, it must convince the International Monetary Fund that it is competent to run an economy. The budget is one of the major weapons in its armoury. The details of how much it is prepared to spend in the coming years and how it will do so is contained in the budget estimates.
It will come as no surprise to you to learn that the Swazi Government is reluctant to publish the document widely. Without full disclosure, the government, hand-picked by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, can control what we know and what we don’t know.
As I revealed on Tuesday (1 March 2011), one of the things the government didn’t want us to know is that while most government departments will be expected to slash budget by 20 percent, King Mswati and his Royal Family will get 23 percent MORE in the coming year. And this is an increase of 63 percent on 2009/2010.
The document is 139 pages long. In the version I have eight pages are missing. These pages detail the capital expenditure plans for the coming three years. Why are they missing? I don’t know, but it makes me suspicious: What is it they are trying to hide from us?
If any reader has the missing pages, I’d be very happy to receive them – no questions asked and all confidences respected.
Swaziland Budget 2011 - 2014