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S. Sudan’s finance minister outlines step to tackle inflation

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January 23, 2016 (JUBA) –South Sudan’s finance minister, David Deng Athorbei, says the nation has taken up steps to overcome inflation caused by the ongoing devaluation.

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David Deng Athorbei (ST File Photo)

Such steps, he said, include reducing customs taxes on imported food items and increasing food production.

“Most of the food is coming outside the country and therefore, we have to zero in on reducing the prices of food items as a first time to tackle inflation,” Athorbei told reporters in Juba Thursday.

“The government is taking steps trying to waive customs (duties) on certain basic items – especially food stuffs. When food prices reduce, everything will be alright,” he said when asked to outline short terms solution to surging prices of market prices since South Sudanese pound was devaluated against the United States dollars in December.

Athorbei, along with Central bank governor Kornelio Koryom, announced free floating of foreign currency exchange rate last month. The official rate was SSP 2.96 to US $1 but has since been changed to SSP 18.5 per dollar.

The minister was speaking to reporters for first time since the SSP was devalued.

The traders responded by increasing prices of items – most of which are imported from neighbouring countries by nearly six times the original selling price.

Athorbei said security agents will monitor import of essential items such as fuel, food and medicines that will be exempted of taxes.

“The economic security of our security organs will ensure that when food come in, somebody should not hide. Food must be affordable to our citizen,” he said.

He said a long term solution to inflation is increasing local production.

“In short terms, we are going to reduce customs duties. In the long term, we are going to make a production budget that will enable our citizens to produce their own food,” said Athorbei, referring to financial budget that is annually table in June in parliament.

Farming season starts in March and April in various parts of South Sudan and Athorbei did not specify how a new budget would address local production by July when a new budget comes into effect. He insisted that the situation will improve.

“My appeal to you, the citizens, is to tighten your belt. Within a short time, we shall be out of the wood,” he added.

He said President Salva Kiir’s one thousand tractors, which were launched early in 2015 are just being given out to states farmers.

“The one thousand tractors are now being given to the governors of 28 states and we hope next year harvest will be better and the issue of inflation will be history,” he said.

(ST)

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  • 24 January 2016 07:37, by Mi diit

    Poor economists:

    Reducing customs tax will also reduce government revenue collection. Remember no much money from oil. How will you pay your civil servants?

    This will not also reduce high dollar exchange rate to import goods. Prices will continue to remain high.

    Where is your $20 million you lied would be auctioned?

    In pockets again?

    repondre message

    • 24 January 2016 13:17, by Below the Law

      Mitdiit,
      Thank you very much for this comment. This is for the first time you write on a national aspect. We all including the dinka you use to generalize and brand as the government know and are not happy with the government. What hold them there is how you portray the SPLM IO and war as a dinka nuer. when in reality it is not. So in failure to change the government your weakness of inclusively

      repondre message

      • 24 January 2016 13:26, by Below the Law

        Con.. Contributed. Now any one can agree with you on you comment. This is how national grievances are tackled. Blame the leader of the country blame the government as whole and leave alone innocent tribe of the leader despite yes there are elites that may they may side within and outside the tribe but that does not mean the whole tribe supports or is in agreement with his ideologies. So I think on

        repondre message

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