Govt to implement structural policy reforms to address downgrade: Schlettwein

The Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein has called on the private sector and investor community to remain positive while government implements structural policy reforms and addresses the latest downgrade from the Fitch credit rating agency.

The United States of America's Fitch Ratings announced on Tuesday that Namibia's long-term foreign-currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) was downgraded from BB+ to BB, while Namibia's credit risk outlook was revised from negative to stable.

According to the ratings agency, the downgrade of Namibia's ratings reflects the deterioration in economic growth, fiscal metric and a worsened macroeconomic environment, and therefore a lowered assessment of the country's growth potential.

Schlettwein said in a statement issued on Tuesday, government in collaboration with the private sector commenced with the implementation growth enhancing measures which include an increased development budget from N.dollars 5.5 billion to N.dollars 7.9 billion in the 2019/20 financial year to support domestic economic activity.

Government will further continue to strike a balance between fiscal consolidation and achieving broad-based economic growth in favour of long-term sustainability.

The finance minister added that government would also implement public-sector wide wage bill reforms to reduce the wage bill as a proportion of the gross domestic product and total expenditure.

Namibia has demonstrated its ability and resilience to deal with shocks and also to direct policy actions to addressing socio-economic development needs, he said.

'We therefore remain optimistic that growth prospects will gain traction as the implementation of the adopted measures is scaled-up,' the minister said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency