Friday, August 23, 2019

South Sudan cabinet reacts to chaos in parliament, non-payment of salaries for civil servants and soldiers for 6 months

Note from Sudan Watch Editor: I do not envy this man's job. He is the Information minister for South Sudan. Yellow highlighting is mine for future reference. These news reports are important. How were soldiers, civil servants and students managing to live without pay for six months? How much will they be paid? News is coming through showing Sudanese refugees returning to South Sudan from other countries.
Photo: South Sudan's Information minister Michael Makuei. (Credit Radio Tamazuj)

South Sudan cabinet reacts to chaos in parliament
From Radio Tamazuj 21 June 2019 (Juba, South Sudan) -  South Sudan’s cabinet on Friday reacted strongly to the parliament’s unexpected move, saying the finance minister should be allowed to present the new budget.

When Finance Minister Salvatore Garang tried to present the 2019/2020 fiscal year budget on Thursday, he was barred by MPs in protest over non-payment of salaries for civil servants and soldiers for six months.

There was chaos in the parliament as lawmakers protested, forcing speaker Anthony Lino Makana to suspend debate on the new budget.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting on Friday, Information Minister Michael Makuei said the parliament should not block the finance minister from presenting the budget.

“The minister had his own plans but was not even given the opportunity to respond as to how he is planning to pay the arrears,” he said.

“But it seems there are other issues involved because people decided to go beyond this situation which is not required,” he added.

When asked about the government’s position on what happened in the parliament, Makuei said: “The position of the government is that the budget will be presented and the minister of finance should be given the opportunity to respond.”

“How will the government operate without the budget? This is what I am failing to understand, so it is the parliamentarians to give us the way forward,” he added.

Last week, the Council of Minister passed a proposed draft budget of 208.156 billion SSP, with allocation of 57% for capital expenditures.

Students in Zimbabwe

Minister Michael Makuei says they are still working to pay the outstanding tuition fees demanded from South Sudan students on scholarship in Zimbabwe.

On Tuesday, angry students occupied the South Sudanese embassy in the capital, Harare to protest at government failure to pay outstanding fee balances.

“The government is concerned about those who went on government scholarship, and the minister of higher education is following up on this with the ministry of finance,” Makuei said.

The minister expressed optimism that the government would settle unpaid fees for students in Zimbabwe soon.

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