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Kiir tasks new finance minister to strengthen financial system

Author: Jale Richard | Published: Saturday, September 19, 2020

Diing Athian Athian takes oath of office on Friday, September 18, 2020: | Credit | Office of the President

President Salva Kiir has tasked the new minister of finance and planning to strengthen the country’s financial system.

He made the remarks on Friday during the swearing-in of the newly appointed Minister of Finance and Planning, Athian Diing Athian.

Athian replaced Salvatore Garang who was sacked  together with the acting NRA Commissioner-General Erjok Bullen Geu and Nilepet boss Dr. Chol Deng two days ago.

The reasons for the dismissals were not mentioned. However, the country is undergoing an economic meltdown.

Instructing the new finance minister, President Kiir said if the non-oil revenues were collected in good faith, the government would have enough revenues in the financial system.

“Our problem is that the non-oil revenues are considered to be private by those who collect them. That they don’t go to the treasury of the government. That is our tragedy. But if we were collecting this money in good faith and put them in the coffers of the government, we would have a lot of money,” Kiir said.

The president also raised concerns over a number of tax-free imports, pointing fingers at some individuals and senior officials in the government.

“Now there is an issue of exemptions. Many people have companies and these companies bring all sorts of goods and owners of the companies including very senior people in the government either ministers or whatever they are, they bring goods and ask to be exempted. This is not possible!”

For his part, Diing Athian who had served as a deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in 2018 said no problems are impossible if officials from the financial institutions worked together.

“I’m one of the people who believes that when there is a will, there will always be a way,” he said. “The problems we have are not impossible to be solved. A lot of countries have gone through it and they went over and solved them. Why not us? I believe with the team we have if we work together, we will shut our ways through these waters and we will get out successfully.”

Last week, the former commissioner-general of the National Revenue Authority, Dr. Olympio Attipoe told Eye Radio that South Sudan can only improve its revenue stream if “everyone adheres to the financial management regulation.”

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