Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: Fixing South Sudan economic crisis requires a competent government, not just recipes

By Francis M Malwal, Texas, USA

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit as he arrives in Khartoum for signing ceremony of transitional agreement between Sudan’s military and protesters on Saturday, August 17th 2019 (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

Oct 21, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) — Last week professor Marial proposed a recipe for the government to get out of the current economic crisis. His proposal includes investing in agriculture, education, hospitals, and road infrastructure. However, his proposal missed two critical factors for South Sudan to get out of this crisis, which I will explore here.

First of all, investment in all these projects requires financing, and I do not think the government that has failed to pay wedges of civil servants for several months is capable of financing these projects. Therefore, the government’s only viable option is to borrow money from its friends such as China or the World Bank.

However, given the government of South Sudan’s history of corruption, it would be tough to get an institution willing to lend it money. So without money, no investment will take place.

Secondly, even if we assumed that the government secured loans from anywhere, another obstacle would be executing those projects. The government has profound failure records in executing any plans.

Look at what happened to Bahr El Ghazal regional road, Juba International Airport, Agriculture boosting project (more than a thousand tractors were purchased), SPLA hotel along Bilpam road, SPLM HQs, to mention a few.

These are all projects that have not been completed until today. So the government with such a poor performance is not qualified to handle mega projects of this scale.

Thirdly, the leadership of South Sudan, in particular, the president and his vice president, do not adhere to their office’s budget.  In most instances, they finished their annual budget within three months and confiscated other ministries’ budgets after that.

So if the top leaders in the country disrespect the budget, how would they uphold the other institutions to adhere to it?

In conclusion, fixing the South Sudan economic crisis requires a competent government in the first palace before the proposed recipes of professor Marial.

However, if it remains Kiir’s government, the South Sudan economy would continue to deteriorate until it becomes utterly bankrupt if it is not already bankrupt yet.

Francis M Malwal, Chairperson of Establishment committee, African’s National Party. Can be reached on E.mail.francismalwal@gamil.com

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