By Julius N. Uma
January 9, 2012 (JUBA) - The Finance, Trade and Industry minister in South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal State on Monday described as “baseless” and “untrue” claims by a member of the state legislative assembly that a motion to have him impeached by lawmakers was allegedly blocked by the state Governor.
- Ronald Ruay Deng, Northern Bahr el Ghazal’s minister for finance, trade and industry address the press in Aweil, September 15, 2011 (ST)
In an interview with Sudan Tribune in Juba, the South Sudan capital, Ronald Ruay Deng, accused Garang Majak Bol - an MP for Aweil South - of deliberately deviating from real issues discussed in the state assembly, and instead using the media to attack his dignity and personality.
Last week, MP Bol, in a series of media interviews, claimed his life was at risk and that there was an alleged plot by the state Governor, Paul Malong Awan, to have him and some assembly members “assassinated”.
Although the MP’s allegations could not be independently verified, an aide to the state governor on Saturday dismissed the issue as a mere “political propaganda” by “confused opportunists” and “power hungry” opponents.
Bol, the finance minister argued, should have followed used the procedures of the parliament if he was dissatisfied with the assembly’s conduct of business, instead of using the press to voice his concerns.
“All matters concerning the business of the State Legislative Assembly are the subject of the well recorded proceedings and it would be a failure on my part and truly undignified as a caucus member of that August body to reduce such proceedings to a public spectacle by debating the same in the press,” said Deng.
He also dismissed as baseless the MP’s assertion that he failed to explain alleged discrepancies in the implementation of the 2011 fiscal budget.
According to the finance minister, in November 2011, he presented MPs the budget report for 2011 and clearly outlined the expenditure.
The shortfall in the 2011 budget, Deng exclusively told Sudan Tribune, was mainly caused by “multiple shocks” realised after the successful conduct of the South Sudan’s self-determination referendum early last year.
“I reported that our state total expenditures for the financial year 2011 are expected to be below budget estimates on the account of low revenues since we were only able to collect 30.7% of our budget estimates,” the finance minister explained.
The state government, he added, did not anticipate any slowdown in revenue collection while planning for the 2011 financial year, which eventually translated into a significant deficit in its budget.
However, Deng said he remains optimistic that the existing shortfalls would be addressed through “cash rationing and payment prioritisation measures”, which the state intends to undertake.
Meanwhile, Bona Makuac Mawien, the state minister for information and broadcasting, in a separate interview with Sudan Tribune, accused the Aweil South MP of “fabricating and concocting” stories against the state Governor, advising the lawmaker to concentrate on the problems affecting his constituents.
“In reality, Governor Paul Malong Awan has nothing to do with Hon. Bol’s case as it is a course of law or legal procedures. Ethically what can the governor gain from murdering the MP as a result of the motion raised?” Mawien asked.