Will South Sudan Prepare 2017/2018 Financial Year Budget Timely?

Posted: April 2, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Malith Alier, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Malith Alier, Juba, South Sudan

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April 2, 2017 (SSB) — Before, we proceed we should define what actually is meant by the term “budget” in a nation – Individuals or families also have their budgets and so are organisations.

A budget is a financial forecast of expected revenues and where these revenues will be spent. An individual, organisation and or a state raises and spends its income over a period of twelve month technically known as financial year.

South Sudan since the interim period 2005 – 2011 had been preparing a budget of some kind. This budget happened to be irregular in nature of preparation and implementation. Initially, the financial year used to run from January to December until change occurred shortly after independence. A new financial year runs from July 1st – June 30th.

Over the years, especially after the change over from January – December to July – June financial year, the government barely adhered to timely budget preparation process. A budget preparation process includes submission by spending agencies to the national parliament for consideration and to be signed into law by the head of state.

South Sudan budget sometime is late by a factor of several months, say up to six months. The 2016/2017 budget was only passed last December.

It is not only the preparation of the budget South Sudan lurks behind, it also not adhere to its implementation. It is not uncommon to find some spending institutions over/under spending the budget line allocated to them.

So far, important changes took place at the Ministry of Finance and Planning (MFP). The new minister, Stephen Dhieu Dau introduced very stringent rules and spending regulations to curb overspending. This is the operationalisation of the Public Financial Management and Accountability Act of 2012 which had laid dormant for many years now.

 The ministry used to be overcrowded by quacks plus those who made it a habit to seeking rent at public expense. There was also what used to be known as “assistance” for various reasons by public and private individuals. This used to drain the public coffers by millions over the past years.

Last year, the National Parliament noted the delay of the 2016/2017 budget and urged the minister of Finance and Planning to be prepared to submit subsequent budgets to parliament on time for deliberations. It was also noted that the value of South Sudanese Pound got wiped off up to 80%. This, in itself affects the budget. It’s sometime tricky how to prepare a budget during inflationary period such as now.

Inflation is a general rise in prices across the board. The factors that drive inflation include low production, conflict, incessant printing of currency and or dependency on foreign capacity. The issue of absence of hard currency is the mantra used by traders so often in this country. Everybody talks of “lack of US Dollar” as a reason for hiking prices.

By joining East African Community (EAC), South Sudan agrees to play by the rules of that community including timely budget preparation. EAC member countries are required to prepare their budgets by May the latest. This week, Kenya has presented its 2017/2018 budget to the national assembly in Nairobi. The rest of the east African member country will follow suit. We hope that South Sudan will not be exception.

The national budget has a major impact on individuals, families and the nation as whole. For those countries which seek budget support, they have to forecast the level of support that may be covered by donors and that may be covered by loans from national and international sources.

On this note, a country like South Sudan should be the earliest to prepare its budget so that the donor community is able to forecast the level of assistance it may offer the country. There is no other way of putting it.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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Comments
  1. When will timetable for 2017/2018 be release?

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