By Madhieu Thiep Madhieu, Juba, South Sudan
February 14, 2017 (SSB) —- During our independent from Khartoum oppressive regime in 2011, the people of South Sudan were overwhelmingly happier about the birth of their own sovereign nation which they thought would be free from all forms of miseries. Citizens countrywide celebrated and welcomed the historic victory with joy and great expectations, that service would be closer to them at affordable cost. But that hope seemed to have yielded fruits for the first few years of our independent, because our South Sudanese pound was more valuable and prove stronger in the region.
Life was so much simple those days especially for people who lack job to earn living. Survival was easily tackled without serious struggle or hardship. Markets were full of items and the prices remain manageable compare to today where prices of goods keep on skyrocketing hour after an hour and day by day. Today, Scarcity of commodities in the market and higher cost of trading have negatively affected the livelihood of ordinary people of South Sudan who heavily rely on low government pay or micro businesses.
Most families find it extremely difficult to meet their basic needs such as water, food and clothing, because of the deteriorating economic catastrophe. Foreign traders have been left by our authority to decide and determine prices on their own, putting blame on the exchange rate of dollar in black market.
As we speak, a bottle of water is 40 ssp and big Jerry can at 100 ssp which is so much amazing. So, how will vulnerable people who cannot raise their daily bread survive this crisis? Is there any hope to revert this situation to normality? It is discouraging to see prices tripling on daily basis in the eye of the government, and nothing tangible had been taken to correct this economic mess.
We won’t be surprise to see students dropping their studies and go for rambling in search of survival, if there is no urgent change in the economy. Many marriages will break up in some two to three months, if the situation remains dire because the couple will be unable to provide food for their family.
Lack of hard currency in the country central Bank had been taken as scapegoat to define the change in Market force, which is not far from the reality. Poor government commitment to control and regulate prices in the market has lead opportunists to have up hand in catapulting us to this level.
It is now up to the government to rescue its citizens or remain silence and watch the hopeless dying civil population. The only way to improve this economy is injecting/auction enough hard currency into commercial banks so that it becomes available to everyone.
Fuel shortage has hit Juba again and this had been used by taxi owners to increase their fares from previous charge to new increased amount. This can be brought down if supply adjustment of fuel to mitigate higher prices is adopted.
Government should reverse its recent discussion and stop lifting fuel subsidy as it will further complicate the already grappling economy. It is necessary that some subsidies are temporarily removed in a country where prices are up, but it may worsen in our case.
Government must be more cautious and handle this situation with maximum care so that poorer people are protected from starvation. Good economic policies are quickly needed to be implemented in order to block the darkest days that are looming ahead of us.
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