South Sudan Knocks On Uganda's Door For Technical Support

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In short
The Transitional Government of South Sudan faces tough times as revenue from oil continues to fall due to the ongoing fighting. It now plans to seek other sources of revenue to help revive the sinking economy.

Uganda has agreed to send a team of technical people to help revitalize the sinking South Sudan economy.

The decision was reached at after a two day closed door meeting between top Uganda government officials and those of South Sudan. 

Speaking to URN exclusively after the meeting, South Sudan Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau,  said that his delegation was in Uganda to seek technical support to help revive and diversify the economy.

"At the present, the economy...is facing challenges because South Sudan is depending on oil and oil globally is in crisis; the price is declining and that led to a big deficit in the government programmes. So South Sudan government wants to build the non-oil sector to be able to generate revenue," said Dau.

While the minister could not say when the technical team from Uganda would arrive in South Sudan, sources say the team is expected to leave for Juba next week.

"We are going to report to the leadership, who will decide when the technical support team should go to South Sudan or when to send a group here for training," said Dau.

Uganda will provide technical support in the areas of central banking, budget preparation, budget discipline, in developing a strong system of revenue collection, monitoring and management and Agriculture.

In a meeting with deputy governor Bank of Uganda, Louis Kasekende yesterday, the team was given lessons on how to operate the central bank as an independent entity and on ways to raise revenue such as through selling treasury bills and bonds. The South Sudanese were advised to avoid deficit financing.

The delegation to Uganda, which included three under secretaries and a host of officials from various ministries, met with Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, Deputy Governor Louis Kasekende, Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority, Doris Akol, Attorney General William Byaruhanga and Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde.

A source privy to the discussions told URN that Dau informed the meeting that the country's economy was in a perilous state and needed urgent help.

Dau implored the government to act fast and give it technical support as was agreed between President Museveni and his counterpart Salva Kiir, two weeks ago.

Uganda is South Sudan's biggest trading partner. It exports a wide range of products, ranging from food staff to electronics.

The Transitional Government of South Sudan faces tough times as revenue from oil has dwindled from $500 million per month in 2005, to now, a tiny $10 million. Its budget was 98% funded by oil proceeds.

The dwindling oil revenue is as a result of fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and opposition leader, also former Vice President Riek Machar.

The country is yet to pass a new budget for the 2016/2017 financial year. It has not been able to pay government workers in the last month and last week, the finance minister cancelled all cheques to suppliers due to financial shortage.

Inflation this week stands at 661 percent.

 

About the author

Barbara Among
Barbara Among is the URN Education Digest Editor-in-Chief based in Kampala. Among has been a URN staff member since 2015.

Among has worked as a reporter and investigative journalist for 11 years now, focusing on conflict in the Great Lakes region, human rights, terrorism, politics, business reporting, health and the environment.

She has previously worked with The East African, the Daily Monitor and the New Vision newspapers.

Her work has also appeared in the Guardian, UK, the Observer, UK, the Independent, UK, and Reuters. She is a winner of the David Astor Journalism Award and the Uganda Investigative journalism award.