GOVERNMENT UNDECIDED ON
With government struggling to improve its revenue base and already having experienced two sharp declines in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) receipts within a space of five years and the recession being experienced by major economy, financial experts have approached the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Swaziland with a proposal to turn the country into an international offshore financial centre.
In fact, the then minister of finance and now Governor of the Central Bank, Majozi Sithole is understood to have commissioned financial experts between the year 2000 and 2001 to develop an integrated custom-made legislation that would have seen the country becoming a global financial centre.
It is said that our failure to make our decision on the matter resulted in the idea being taken to Mauritius and has boosted its economy and is one of the reasons that make it one of the leading tourists hub in the continent.
The idea was again pursued in 2011, this time around with a Bill being drafted in February 2011, which was to be known as an Act to regulate International Business Activities carried on within the Kingdom of Swaziland.
It was envisaged that the draft Act to regulate International Business Activities carried on within the Kingdom of Swaziland will function as the main Act, rarely requiring amendments or updates.
It further posits the legislation which will form the basis of the Financial Centre system that will take the form of regulations, rather than laws, and will be able to be amended and updated as and when necessary.
The idea for the Bill was to make Swaziland the international offshore headquarters Hub for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The experts noted that at the time there was no other valid hub operating in Africa since Mauritius was strongly disapproved of by serious governments.
It further stated that Botswana and Namibia have not got off the ground. It predicted that an International Offshore Financial Centre will enhance financial strength and status of Swaziland.
It was said that the new legislative, regulatory and administrative framework will give the country a global face as an international financial hub.
In light of uncertainties within the region, in particular the developments in the Republic of South Africa and other Southern African countries, it was becoming urgent to proceed with this initiative by the country’s leaders to create Sub-Saharan Africa’s first true IOFC and to generate economic growth, social up-liftment and sustainable employment.
“In order to make Swaziland a desirable international investment destination and to achieve permanent social, economic and industrial empowerment for all income groups, it is essential to offer to a very discerning sector of the world’s investment community, all the best features to be found in any other jurisdiction, sub-
AWARE: Governor of the Central Bank, Majozi Sithole .