29th October 2020
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Finance minister unveils over 218 billion SSP for 2020-2021 fiscal year

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Saturday, September 26, 2020

Finance Minister Athian Diing Athian (fourth left) during a photo shoot after his swearing in on September 18th, 2020. Photo/Office of the President

The minister of finance and planning has presented to the Council of Ministers over 218 budget estimates for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

South Sudan’s financial year covers 12 months, which runs from 1st of July to 30th June each year.

The budget is expected by law to be submitted to the national legislature by not later than the 15th of May of each financial year, but the presentation of the budget has significantly delayed this year.

It is not clear why it took the finance ministry so long to present the budget, but observers say the lack of a legitimate legislature could have obstructed the process.

South Sudan’s two houses — the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States are supposed to have been reconstituted according to the revitalized peace agreement signed two years ago.

But delay in implementing critical provisions in the deal meant some institutions including the national legislature could not legitimately play their roles.

However, the government spokesperson, Michael Makuei said on Friday that Minister of Finance and Planning, Athian Diing Athian presented to the Council of Ministers a budget estimate of over 218 billion South Sudanese Pounds.

“Now the minister has presented the first part which is only the resource envelopes. In the course of the presentation, he says the budget which they expect to be used this year is the sum of 218 billion, 191,000 South Sudanese Pounds,” Makuei told journalists after the regular Council of Ministers chaired by President Salva Kiir.

The estimates, according to Makuei will have a deficit of about 123 billion, 448,000 South Sudanese Pounds.

Makuei also heeded that the presentation of the next financial year budget had significantly delayed.

“As you know very well the budget is late, it should have actually been adopted by June and then it comes into effect in July, but unfortunately it was delayed until this time,” the government spokesperson noted.

In June, the East African Business Council asked East Africa Community partner states to adhere to the Treaty requiring them to read their budgets simultaneously.

The EABC said harmonization of the budget presentation helps in the timely implementation of Community projects such as infrastructure, energy and takes away the possibility of governments applying punitive tax measures against other members.

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