October 19, 2010

Sacu concerned about Swaziland

A Senior official at the secretariat of the five-member Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) has expressed concern about reports that Swaziland has all but finished its revenue funding for this financial year. Swaziland's central bank governor, Martin Dlamini, was quoted as blaming a 62% reduction in Sacu revenue for his country's financial woes. This fall in Sacu revenue resulted in Swaziland receiving R1,9bn from Sacu this financial year, compared with R5,1bn the year before.

Dumisani Mahlinza, acting executive secretary for Sacu, said the authorities in Swaziland had not approached the institution for further funding. "It will be a concern that one of our Sacu members is running into fiscal problems," Mr Mahlinza said.

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland addresses the general debate of the sixty-second session of the General Assembly, at UN Headquarters in New York. He said it may have been "a problem of expenditure" that led to Swaziland depleting its customs revenue funding. The global financial recession has also resulted in fewer imports being ordered from Sacu members and import tariffs make up the bulk of the customs union's revenue pool.
This fiscal predicament has forced members of the royal family to approach multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for further assistance. However, Treasury spokeswoman Kershia Singh said that Swaziland had not yet approached South Africa for financial assistance. She said the issue should be dealt with by all Sacu members.

South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia are the other Sacu members. South Africa's National Treasury is the lead institution that collects the customs revenue which is in turn distributed to all member states. The distribution of the funds takes place quarterly. (Business Day)

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