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Swaziland’s Fiscal Policy: The Choices Ahead

Ayoki, Milton (2011): Swaziland’s Fiscal Policy: The Choices Ahead. Published in:

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Abstract

This paper examines the stance of fiscal policy in Swaziland since the 1980s, and the attempts that have been made to restrain the excessive deficits that have built up over the past 15 years. Swaziland’s fiscal difficulties have arisen in part from two decades of slow growth, and falling revenue from SACU’s revenue sharing pool, aggravated by the collapse of the fiscal discipline. It would be easier to reduce fiscal deficit and stabilise debt burdens if growth were to pick up and the tax system restructured. But growth alone or expanding the revenue sources per se won’t resolve the problems. Bold actions to rationalize government expenditures and strengthen mechanism for public debt management are essential for the needed adjustment. The fiscal adjustment road map, if firmly implemented, could bring the deficit down to a sustainable level and reduce dependence on SACU transfers, and government debt would remain sustainable over the medium term. However, policy inaction would be a sure recipe for deeper crisis as the overall fiscal balance would remain above 14.5 percent over the medium term and debt to GDP ratio would rise to unsustainable levels (over the medium term).

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