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Bak says 400% salary adjustment unsustainable

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: Sunday, February 18, 2024

Finance Minister Bak Barnaba Chol. (Photo: CRN).

The National Minister of Finance and Planning said the government does not have enough resources to sustain the 400% salary adjustment approved in the 2023/2024 budget.

Dr. Bak Barnaba Chol made the remarks on Friday in a meeting with finance ministers of the states and administrative areas on the delayed payment of civil servants.

“I told you that budgets are numbers, these are projections. We think within this fiscal year, we will get these resources. But if the war erupts in Sudan and the oil cut off, if the issues arise and we don’t have resources, do you still blame the minister of finance?” he said, as reported by state-owned television SSBC.

According to him, the conflict in Sudan has hurt South Sudan’s economy by hindering the exportation of crude oil, which accounts for more than 90 percent of the country’s revenue.

Dr. Bak further announced a one-month salary for all civil servants, but he did not mention when it will be disbursed.

“I can tell you the good news now, that I will top up what I have sent you for August to be 400% and pay your workers. But is it sustainable? I will do it, by the way, from here.”

“Just tell your governors that the minister has decided to top up what he has sent to us 400% increment in salaries to our workers. That is the first good news. But the second bad news is, it is not sustainable. I don’t have the resources.”

He said his ministry has run out of resources to sustain the budget and appealed to state finance officials to take austerity majors including adjusting their budget below the 400 percent in the meantime.

“We have to think about how to survive because we cannot die. Adjust our budget, introduce austerity measures, introduce cutting in our pay sheets, whatever. we have to come out and survive.”

Minister Bak also encouraged the states and administrative areas revenue institutions to increase urged the state finance officials to increase their incomes and make sure of the state’s workforce.

“What do we do to go forward? Public Service ministers, you will work with the Minister of Public Service and Human Resources Development and my Department of Budget, to check your workforce.”

“Don’t think I paid 400% and therefore you can increase as you wish. I will top up the budget you have. We will pay 400%, but I don’t have the money to sustain it.”

Civil servants and members of the organized forces in South Sudan have now gone for five months without receiving their salaries, a situation that has prompted calls for explanation.

 

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