The Kingdom of Eswatini declares a national emergency

Minister of finance Neal Rijkenberg says the emergency is due to the rapid spread of Covid-19.

The Kingdom of Eswatini (also known as Swaziland) Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg has declared a national emergency. “This is due to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus across the globe.” 

The minister stated that the primary crisis is one of health due to the infection rate of the virus. Measures have been declared to try to curb the spread of the virus. 

The secondary crisis is an economical one. “As the world economy slows down, stock exchanges crash, trade flows are curtailed and movement in countries is stopped, there is a need for Eswatini to put some measures in place to try and assist individuals and businesses that will be suffering the consequences of the economic crisis,” the minister said. 

The following measures will be put in place: 

  • Fuel prices will come down during the first week of April
  • The Central Bank has reduced the discount rate with 100 basis points that will reduce the cost of debt with 1 percent
  • The Central Bank has also reduced the liquidity requirement for the banks from 25 percent to 20 percent
  • The banks have announced that those individuals and companies that need short term financial support or relief can approach them and each application will be assessed on a risk-based approach
  • A portion of the Capital budget will be redirected towards urgently refurbishing hospitals and completing wings of new hospitals

The minister has also suggested that the public use less cash and move over to electronic means of payments and transactions as soon as possible, and that the public should not fear a shortage of cash. 

“We plead with all Emaswati to unify against this virus and we encourage communities and households to support each other during this dark hour. This is not a time for political agendas, vendettas, propaganda or selfish ambitions but a time that our country can demonstrate Eswatini’s true strength of unity, peace and stability,” Neal concluded.