Finance Minister vows to steer S. Sudan towards economic prosperity

The newly appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Athian Diing Athian during oath taking ceremony in Juan
Newly appointed Minister of Finance, Athian Diing Athian being sworn-in in Juba |Photo: Office of the President.

Sept 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–The newly appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Athian Diing Athian has affirmed his commitment to steering his country in the right direction, by improving the country’s moribund economy.

Speaking at his inauguration ceremony in Juba, Athian pointed out that he will spare no effort to ensure that a strong financial management is in place to prevent an economic collapse.

“I am deeply humbled that, His Excellency President Salva Kiir Mayardit, has reappointed me to this position and I must thank him for the vote of confidence,” said the newly appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Athian Diing Athian.

South Sudan’s unity government is now struggling to contain an economic slump caused by endemic corruption and years of conflict that has driven millions of people from their homes.

Since last year, regional and international experts have recommended that for South Sudan to have an improved economy, a strong and independent oversight body should be established to oversee the overall management of the economy.

Opinion | On the Sacking of Minister of Finance : Mabior

Salvatore Garang Mabior former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning | Photo:File

Opinion | By Mabior Garang

Sept 18, 2020 (Thessherald)–This is what I meant by “being set up to fail”. It is not only the Minister of Finance who faces this mischief, it is any Minister. It is a tactic used by the presidency to confuse the public and it is working brilliantly.

Half of the country is happy and congratulating the President for his wisdom, while the other half is sulking and hurling insults. If we had a basic understanding of how our government was designed to work, we might see the deception.

The government is supposed to be implementing – apart from the Agreement – South Sudan Vision 2040, based on the Millennium Development Goals.
It is the government’s road map for development and each Ministry has a Development Master Plan. No Minister comes with his/her own project proposals and budgets from their private homes. Rather, the civil servants in the Ministries are the custodians of the institutional memory of their respective Ministries.

In addition to the above, the Central Bank has no reserves and there is no legal legislative body in the country. This means that Ministries have no budgets. The civil servants have not been paid salaries in months. This failure has nothing to do with individual Ministers, it is systemic. They are set up to fail and are then used as scapegoats.

It is a gimmick intended to draw attention away from the real problem. The regime will buy time with this sacking. The congratulatory messages have started pouring in, not to mention the ones for the incoming Minister. It will be a while before attention is brought back to the failure and the cycle will continue.

If the Minister of Finance was serious about his job, he should not have accepted the position. Without the implementation of Chapter IV., Resource, Economic and Financial Management, he was being “set up to fail”. It is the reason I resigned when I realized that the security Arrangements would not be implemented. I was “being
set up to fail”.

I would have been sacked and the current insecurity in the country would have been blamed on me. The intellectual mercenaries of the intolerable status quo would have been deployed to make noise on all social media platforms.

The Agreement is the only solution to the problems of state failure in our country. The eight (8) chapters of the Agreement deal with radical reforms which – if implemented – will ensure our nascent Republic has the necessary foundations to build a state.

If the Minister of Finance is responsible for the economic meltdown and the reason our national coffers are empty, why is he not prosecuted? The sacking of this and that Minister will not solve the problem; the solution is the full implementation of the Agreement.

The politicians have implemented part of Chapter I., Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-
TGONU). The mandate of this government is clearly spelled out in Chapter 1.1.1., basically to implement the Agreement.

The implementation of Chapter II., Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements, will create the conducive environment for our civil population to access the means of production. It is only through production, may our civil population be able to evolve a viable economy.

The sacking of Ministers has been tried since 2013 and it has not worked, it is time to try new things. I encourage all our citizens to read Chapter IV of the Agreement which deals with how to salvage our economy.

The author is a senior member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-IO and former Deputy Interior Minister in the R-TGONU.