The Swaziland Royal Household is to increase by E200 million (US$14 million) in the coming year to take it to E1.3 billion, an independent monthly magazine in the kingdom has reported.
The Nation reported (April 2017), ‘While the entire budget for King Mswati and the royal household continues to grow in hundreds of millions of emalangeni every year, social grants for elderly and the physically challenged showed a very insignificant increase.’
King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Seven in ten of his 1.3 million subjects have incomes of less than US$2 per day.
The Nation reported the budget increase as ‘mouth-watering’. It said elderly grants (pensions) had a ‘paltry’ increase. The Finance Minister Martin Dlamini announced in his February budget the grant would rise from E240 to E400 per month.
The Nation reported, ‘Even health institutions have seen cuts to their budget allocations this year while the army’s allocation continues to rise unabated even though the country is at peace. Money for agriculture has also been cut, despite that the country has just come out a devastating drought and farmers need help to find their feet.’
King Mswati has been criticised outside Swaziland for his lavish spending. He has 13 palaces, fleets of BMW and Mercedes cars and at least one Rolls-Royce. He is to receive a second private jet aircraft later this year.
Swazi Members of Parliament at first rejected the entire national budget and called for it to be replaced with one that favoured ordinary people. Later they relented and the budget was passed.
SWAZI MPs REJECT NATIONAL BUDGET
SWAZI PM OVERTURNS BUDGET VOTE
SWAZILAND: MASSIVE ‘SECURITY’ SPENDING
U.S. SAYS BUDGET LACKS TRANSPARENCY