July 9, 2012 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has revealed that he will soon downsize his cabinet in the wake of the austerity measures as the new country faces economic shock due to lack of revenues.
- South Sudan President, Salva Kiir (C) watches alongside top military officials as a military parade marches past during a ceremony celebrating the anniversary of South Sudan’s first Independence day on July 9, 2012 (Getty)
Speaking at the occasion marking the 1st anniversary of the independence of South Sudan in Juba on Monday, July 9, 2012, Kiir said the country had run out of money to finance the huge government, saying he will reduce the number of the ministers in the cabinet.
The cabinet currently is composed of about 60 ministers and deputy ministers.
The one-year old nation has shut down its oil production due to misunderstanding with its northern neighbor, the Sudan. Kiir in his speech accused Khartoum of stealing the oil which forced his government to shut it down, adding that his country was looking for alternative routes of pipeline to the neighboring Kenya and Djibouti.
He also said new refineries are being built in Upper Nile and Unity states to serve the fuel demand in the country.
Currently South Sudan depends on money reserves which may finish in few months, according to officials, forcing the government to introduce austerity budget in the anticipation of the financial shortage.
Kiir however warned the people of South Sudan not to cry for tribal representation when the number of ministers in the cabinet is reduced. South Sudan informally considers ethnic and regional representation in the cabinet formation, though some tribes always get the lion’s share.
There were only 25 ministries when the government of the semi-autonomous region was established after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in July 2005. But the was expanded in 2010 when a ministry for peace and CPA implementation was created with the ministry of investment, Human Resources Development, Animal Resources and Fisheries, ministry of culture and Heritage among others.
However, in 2011, some ministries were merged and others were abolished. The ministry of Peace and CPA implementation affairs were dropped but the ministry of culture and heritage remained.
However, in June 2012, a cabinet minister disclosed to Sudan Tribune that he has been authorized to look at the structures of the government and provide recommendations on how it should look like.
The minister on Monday said he was still working on the plan but at almost at finishing stages. The president will be the first to look at it and then the cabinet will discuss and refer it to the parliament.
The minister said he finished the overhaul where he indentified ministries and commissions to which should emerge or be dropped.
"All the non essential ministries and commissions which were created for accommodation purposes will have to go this time. The president has approved," the minister told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
The president also reiterated his commitment to fight corruption which has resulted to the loss of $4 billion dollars.
He earlier wrote a letter to over 75 former and current senior officials of the government whom he suspected of involvement in corruption and asked them to return the “stolen money.” None of the 75 has responded positively to the President’s letter.
Kiir also surprised thousands of celebrators at John Garang’s Mausoleum during the same occasion that the long awaited creation of new counties will not be possible due to lack of money to finance their administrations.
The SPLM ruling party has always been singing the slogan of principle of taking towns to the people through the creation of new counties closer to the people.
However, the government for the last six years has had huge number of institutions at the national level while small at the base or local levels making it difficult to deliver services to the grassroots.
Recently the office of the president had directed all the ten states governors to present crooked maps and estimated populations of the new proposed counties in order to announce their establishment.
Due to the lack of money caused by a combination of money lost to corruption and the shutdown of the oil production which provided for 98% of the revenues, the creation of the new counties will be halted.
Salva Kiir’s speech at the first anniversary of the State of South Sudan