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South Sudan admits running short of cash to pay salaries

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June 15, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan government has grudgingly admitted falling short of cash to pay civil servants and for essential services, raising fears that such an open admission may lead to uncertainty and insolvency.

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South Sudanese information minister Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 5 January 2014 (Photo: AP/Elias Asmara)

Information Minister and government’s official spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth, announced on Friday in a statement broadcasted by the state-owned South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) that the government has no money to make prompt payments to the employees, claiming he himself has not been paid for the last three months and “did not complain.”

Lueth argued that people should not demand payments for months which were not paid but rather wait for the months ahead, asserting the government has no money to pay for accumulated and unpaid months.

“There is no money, even myself I have not been paid for the last three months,” said minister Lueth, in a statement broadcasted by the state-owned media.

He was answering a question put to him by a reporter about payment of the civil servants after attending a regular cabinet meeting in which the council resolved to ask the leadership of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) under the leadership of the First Vice President, Riek Machar, to talk to one of his senior commanders, General Johnson Olony, to permit the use of river transport to move grains from Renk to Juba and other parts of the country in order to help the situation.

General Olony is the commander of Sector One in Upper Nile state in the areas under the control of the SPLA-IO. His forces have closed the river Nile route between Renk and Malakal in Upper Nile state.

But minister Lueth’s open admission of lack of funds to make payments has received mixed reactions from the general public and from the government, with some officials describing it as “inappropriate statement.”

Others argued that the remarks were part of a political ploy to convince the civil servants to exercise patience as the government is seeking ways out to make payments.

Critics of the government have also interpreted the statement to mean attempt by the government to elicit sympathy and support from the international community.

Many in government, including President Salva Kiir, were persuaded to accept the signing of the peace agreement as a way to receive support to improve the currently struggling economic situation and to avoid sanctions and other measures as incentive for blocking peace efforts.

However, international support has not yet come forth, owing to the lack of political will to implement the peace agreement by the parties.

Among many issues that need to be tackled include the status of the controversial 28 states unilaterally created against the 10 states stipulated in the August 2015 peace deal and cantonment of opposition forces across the country.

International financial experts and institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have warned of further economic deterioration in South Sudan.

(ST)

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  • 16 June 2016 02:18, by Mr Point

    Why doe sSouth Sudan have no money? Because oil prices went down and Kiir started a war so that he would not have Riek as Vice President.

    Maybe it will be a good practice for South Sudan to withhold payments to the political leaders until the salaries of all civil servants have been paid.

    It may encourage good government instead of corruption.

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    • 16 June 2016 16:49, by Hardlinner

      since they lack back up to oil, they have now found themselves in deep shit. your stupidity led to this economy down turn. you had opportunity when oil sales were at record high. instead of investing on manufacturing and improving infrastructure, kiir, riek and rest of their cronies were busy stealing public funds. now your stupidity have caught up with you.

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  • 16 June 2016 02:22, by Mr Point

    Of course Riek is now Vice President, so Kiir’s war was all for nothing. A waste of human lives and resources.

    International donors seem unwilling to fund endless corruption and pointless civil wars.

    What needs to be done to develop South Sudan to its full potential?

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    • 16 June 2016 08:33, by Bazinguaboy

      For God’ sake we just auctioned out millions of dollars and floated out currency rates to curb inflation and improve the economy. What happened after all the false promises of a better economy after these measures?

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  • 16 June 2016 02:33, by lino

    " He himself was not paid for 3 months and not complain." How comes Makuei compares himself to ordinary citizens while they are hiding their money aboard?!!!!

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  • 16 June 2016 06:49, by Joseph Canada

    Now they have to come clear on how they are selling Military rifles to the Toposa for Cows to feed the Soldiers. The guns that turn into the death of so many Toposa neighbours like Didinga and Buya.
    We are monitoring and the UN and other Organizations are a were including the human right.

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  • 16 June 2016 07:28, by Eastern

    Wow! SPLA has admitted for the first time that they are in problem. Where’s the sovereignty and independence talk? Where’s the legitimacy of Kiir’s government when it can’t honour its part of the social contract with the citizens of South Sudan? Legitimacy is earned but not imposed on the people; time for kleptocrats to throw in the towel!

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  • 16 June 2016 07:35, by Eastern

    Where are China with their Yuan and Uganda with their Shillings? Where’s Russia with their Ruble? Where’s Angola with her Kwanza? South Sudan is bankrupt!!! You don’t point at USA and expect to walk away with it. USA invested billions in this country, their wise counsel MUST be heeded to!!!

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  • 16 June 2016 07:38, by Eastern

    ....the good thing with this scenario is that sooner or later, the guns would fall silent because South Sudanese currency won’t buy them and the natural resources being plundered in exchange for arms would have been exhausted. The elephants, the timber, gold, etc are all non renewable!

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  • 16 June 2016 07:49, by Akuma

    Why Riek Machar not coming with money has he promise the other time that he will pay soldiers 6 months. He was just laying to himself and the world.

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    • 16 June 2016 08:05, by Joseph Canada

      Riek Machar didn’t run with the money you fool,.Salva Kiir used it to Pay Ugandan Soldiers to help save Dinka. He used the rest to buy the Ethiopian man who marry his daughter while the rest go to Cows and Beer. The left over change goes to the English teacher!!

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      • 16 June 2016 08:35, by Bazinguaboy

        Brother Joseph Canada, your comment above is so funny yet sooooo true.

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    • 16 June 2016 09:08, by Eastern

      ....this is just cheap propaganda from you SPLA-Kiir; nowhere did Dr Machar make such a promise. Live with the facts: Kiir and cohorts where misadvised to spend all the little money in their coffers including borrowing some to buy war armaments to "crush" Riek’s rebellions for good. Now see what happened to the economy?

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    • 16 June 2016 09:11, by Eastern

      .....the same economic misadviors told Kiir to print more money to appease the numerous "generals" so that they live a good life, see what that caused to the economy. The SSP is in a free fall thanks to dinkocracy and kleptocracy centred at J1.

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  • 16 June 2016 10:15, by Mapuor

    Nyagats think that there is money in South Sudan.Shit!! who will pay your white army in the stupid cantonment areas that you are establishing.Dr Riek must resign and leave the country.

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    • 16 June 2016 11:33, by Eastern

      ....his resignation and leaving South Sudan won’t help the mess caused so far. The little money generated by the sale of oil has been squandered on the war effort to defeat SPLA-io militarily, a futile yet costly attempt by a poorly managed country such as South Sudan.

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      • 16 June 2016 15:09, by Mapuor

        Dr Riek resignation would save a lot of money that would have gone to the white and barbaric army that he formed during the 21 months war. We sincerely don’t want Dr Riek in South Sudan, he is a curse to South Sudanese. His absence will give us peace of mind and we will develop faster.

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        • 16 June 2016 15:56, by Eastern

          ....try your level best to achieve that endeavour; good luck!

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        • 16 June 2016 19:52, by lino

          Ya Mapour, the country was looted by Warab, Northern Bhar Elgazal, and small pockets of Dinka Bor; The development money went missing in fake contacts and stealing style of using the President signature!!!

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    • 17 June 2016 03:48, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

      Mapuor, To whom does South Sudan belong? It is not a property of Dinka. No one has a right to evict a notable citizen from the country just because his political ideas is above your tribal rubbish.

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