October 29, 2013 (BENTIU) - Lawmakers in South Sudan’s Unity state have endorsed the state budget of 2.38 million South Sudanese pounds for the 2013/2014 financial year after it was discussed on Friday by state’s council of ministers.
Tuesday’s sitting, chaired by James Nguany Chakuoth the speaker of the house, was the fifth time the state parliament had discussed the budge.
Weitui Lony Babuoth, Unity state’s minister of finance and trade said the state used to receive 97.2% of its budget from central government in Juba as well receiving 2.8% of the revenue from oil exported from the state.
When South Sudan seceded from Sudan in July 2011 it took with it 75% of oil production but on six months later a dispute over of how much the new nation should pay Khartoum to refine its crude and export it through Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast led to Juba stopping production.
The shutdown deprived South Sudan of 98% of its income, leading to nationwide austerity measures. Unity state’s budget was reduced to 1.55 million South Sudanese pounds.
Production finally resumed in April 2013 when relations between the Sudans eventually improved allowing South Sudan to gradually turn the sending taps back on but not after the number of state employees had been reduced from 16,281 to 13,085.
The loss of oil revenues triggered an economic crisis in South Sudan with inflation and the cost of living soaring.
"This fiscal year, the counties conditional capital transfers from the Republic of South Sudan have been increased to 10,299,650 SSP from its initial level of 4,968,627 between 2012 and 2013”, Babuoth said.
The state minister added that a new block of transfers to Unity state’s county’s worth 4,845,180 SSP have been introduced. Each county will receive an amount proportional to its populations, the finance minister told Sudan Tribune.
However minister Babuoth said that the new state budget will help to boost social services and economic growth.