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Why civil servants should be paid in dollars

Author : Memoscar Lasuba | Published: Monday, November 28, 2016

Civil servants should be paid in US dollars in a bid to curb inflation, an economist has suggested.

Dr Lual Achiek, who is the director of the Ebony Center for Strategic Studies, says this will help empower low-income earners and stabilize the economy.

Dr Lual says the high inflation rate is associated with volatility in the exchange rate, saying it is making some civil servants earn only $300 as their monthly salary.

He proposed that paying a minimum of $50 to the employees is appropriate and he believes the government is capable of doing so.

“Now with that one, you will stabilize; you will eliminate the black market because why would anyone go to the black market anymore?” the former minister of oil argues.

However, Dr Lual says the pounds can still be maintained as the legal tender of the country.

For his part, a Member of Parliament, Dr David Mayo Nailo, agreed with Dr Lual’s suggestion, saying such a decision, if considered would contribute to fair distribution of the country’s resources.

“Everybody today, including a housewife going to the market will tell you why vegetables are being sold highly because of the dollar,” Dr Nailo said.

“The top civil servants in South Sudan get about 5,000 SSP. Those have access – the price setters, the ones who receive the almighty dollars – these are the people who are taking the dollars.

“If you want to distribute to every South Sudanese civil servants, then you pay them in dollars.”

However, the presidential advisor on Economic Affairs, Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, says this would cost the government too much.

He says other cost will not be met if civil servants are paid in dollars as proposed.

“Whereas if we want our salaries to be commensurate with the inflation rate, it means the ministry of finance or the revenue collection agencies should be allowed to collect the revenue to meet other associated costs,” Mr Sabuni said.

“That means $10 million; that is the salary for half a million employees.”

The guests were speaking at a public lecture organized in Juba over the weekend by the Ebony Center for Strategic Studies.

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