29th October 2020
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Programme launched to improve financial transparency, social services

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Thursday, October 1, 2020

Government and representatives of UN agencies during the launch of the programme in Juba on Thursday October 1, 2020. Credit|UNDP South Sudan

The government and its partners today launched the United Nations Joint Sustainable Development Goals Fund, SDG] Programme to consolidate peace, save lives and facilitate economic recovery in South Sudan.

At the event in Juba where the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the National Revenue Authority, together with the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office, UNDP and UNICEF.

According to the Minister of Finance, the Joint Programme is expected to facilitate the allocation of greater resources to critical social services and ensuring their efficient, effective and transparent utilization.

Athian Ding Athian noted that this will also contribute to the realization of the South Sudan National Development Strategy which calls for intensifying non-oil revenue mobilization.

“…as well as to operationalizing institutional mechanism to promote citizen engagement and participation, as critical pathways to sustainable development,” he added.

The South Sudan National Development Strategy aims to ensure that 15 percent of the country’s national budget is allocated to social services.

But development partners say public budget allocations to social sectors remain low in South Sudan.

In the 2019-2020 budget, only 1 percent of public spending was allocated to the health sector, 5 percent to education and 2 percent to social and humanitarian affairs.

It is expected that by 2022, there shall be a 2 percent increase in all budget allocations to national priorities and social services which work toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This is to strengthen resilience, social cohesion and benefit the population, especially the most vulnerable children and women.

“More national budget allocations are required for a national social protection programme as a central policy for COVID-19 to protect the most vulnerable and children and women of South Sudan, during recurring stresses and shocks,” said Ayaa Benjamin Warille, Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare.

The Joint Programme will run from 2020-2022 and is supported financially by the Joint UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund, UNDP and UNICEF.

By 2030, the project is expected to also strengthen gender-responsive Public Financing Management institutions at national and sub-national levels -especially targeting Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states.

“COVID-19 shows how important it is for South Sudan to strengthen its public financial management institutions,” said Alain Noudehou, UN Resident Coordinator. “It is vital government institutions provide basic social services as reflection of the needs of its citizens.

He stressed this will enable South Sudan to tackle economic shocks better in the future and to enable investments in social sectors that ensure the achievement of the SDGs, including in the health system.

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