Mbabane: Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini is worried that local insurance and retirement funds continue to export huge chunks of money to other countries instead of investing locally. The office of the Registrar of Insurance and Retirement Funds (RIRF) recently reported that out of E14.14 billion worth of assets, local retirement funds had invested E9.9 billion outside the country with only E3 billion in local financial institutions.
The premier was speaking at the Swaziland Beverages KickStart Awards yesterday at the Royal Villas.
“Swaziland is exporting a lot of money and this is worrying. Government tried to make laws on the investment of retirement funds but this law seems not to be effective enough hence we shall soon be reviewing it,” he said.
Nevertheless, Dlamini said the sector, which has the potential to contribute the most to increased output and the creation of more jobs was that of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) as these should be the mainstay for the country’s economy. He also expressed worry about the country’s high unemployment levels and extensive poverty, despite the available human resources, an educated labour force, fertile land, good infrastructure and a stable, varied economic environment.
Speaking on the new investor roadmap, Dlamini expressed hope that it would attract investment in an increasingly competitive market for initiatives such as KickStart to thrive.
“The new investor roadmap, soon to be launched, seeks to do just that and will focus on strengthening the conducive environment and making our country a must on the investment list, especially, though not exclusively, in large scale labour-intensive industries. However, it must be emphasised that in any new investment we seek quality as much as we value quantity. We want the investor to be here for the long term and value employee well-being as highly as the need for profit,” he said.
In addition, the premier acknowledged that despite government’s aim to make the investor road map equally enabling for SMMEs, there were prevailing challenges in the form of limited resources to capacitate aspiring entrepreneurs. He said such resources included affordable finance, appropriate technical and management skills as well as access to a substantial market.