Juba, South Sudan, June 07, 2021 – President Salva Kiir has resorted to commercial airlines after a SSP 1.1 billion proposal to acquire an official jet was neglected by the government.
Kiir uses commercial airlines for most of his official trips, a phenomenon that has raised a critical question on why the country has not secured an official jet for the president ten years after independence. On many occasions, the president is pictured aboard RwandAir.
Speaking in an interview with Nyamilepedia, Dr. David Nailo, former Chairperson of the Finance and Budgeting Committee in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, said legislators approved over SSP 1 billion to revamp the national courier.
“There was consideration given to this concern and the former parliament approved SSP 1.1 billion not only for a presidential jet but also for the national courier,” he revealed.
“But I think this has not been followed up by the responsible ministry,” he added referring to the Ministry of Roads and Bridges.
Nailo described as a laughing stock the usage of commercial airlines for official businesses saying the money channeled in hiring these airlines could be invested in other developmental projects had the government secured its national courier.
“We passed the budget but no one followed it up and now the government uses these commercial jets for official businesses. It’s a laughing stock,” Nailo said adding that it is highly likely that the budget approved has been misappropriated.
When sworn in, Nailo said the new legislators may raise the motion on the issue of presidential jet to ensure that the budget is readjusted, approved, and implemented.
When contacted for comments, the Minister of Roads and Bridges Madut Biar said he was not in a better position to respond as the budget was passed before he became a minister.
“I was not the Minister of Road and Bridges at the time. However, the ministry is not responsible for a presidential jet since that is not a commercial plane,” he said.
Efforts to get comments from Presidential Spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny were fruitless as his rung unanswered.