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Namibia Sees Growth Slowing to 4.3 Percent This Year

Namibia’s economy is expected to expand 4.3 percent this year, down from 4.6 percent in 2012, Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.

Growth of 4.4 percent is expected in 2014 and 2015, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said in her budget speech today in the capital, Windhoek.

Namibia is the world’s biggest producer of offshore diamonds. Mining and other primary industries expanded 4 percent in 2012 and are expected to grow three percent over each of the next three years, according the finance minister.

She expects the government to spend 47.6 billion Namibian dollars ($5.4 billion) this year and collect 40 billion dollars, resulting in a budget deficit of 6.4 percent of gross domestic product. The gap was 2.8 percent last year.

“Government intends to finance the deficit through a combination of a drawdown on accumulated cash reserves and borrowing mainly from domestic sources,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.

Major projects the government intends funding this year include the expansion of the Walvis Bay port and the construction of a desalination plant in the arid Erongo region in Namibia’s uranium belt, where water demand has surged due to an expansion in mining.

The tax rate for non-mining companies will be cut to 33 percent this year, from 34 percent last year, and to 32 percent in 2014 to encourage investment.

The government intends introducing legislation to parliament this year that will limit foreign ownership of banks, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.

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