December 31, 2016 (JUBA) - Civil servants in South Sudan say they face numerous challenges including expulsion, suspension without pay or voluntarily quitting work due to low pay.
- South Sudanese citizens exchange money at the bank (Reuters)
Government employees receive between 300 South Sudanese Pound (SSP) for grade 17 and 3,000 SSP for senior directors as monthly wages. Private members of the police, army and other organised forces gets lower than $15 monthly.
The South Sudanese Pound (SSP) lost about 80% of its value since December 2015 when the government allowed free floating exchange rate regime, effectively increasing prices of basic commodities in the market.
"I receive 1,500 SSP monthly and that can barely purchase a 50kg bag of flour for my family," said Denis Loro, a national government employee.
A 50kg bag of maize flour costs 2,000 SSP or more in Juba. Loro must, however, travel from his home to work daily, paying 20 SSP for two ways or 400 SSP for a month.
"That transport expenditure does not include my feeding and that of my family and the salary is not paid on time," he added.
Loro is one of thousands of South Sudanese whose earning has diminished due to high inflation. Government employees only receive salaries for November in December. Others have not been paid for October, November and December 2016.
"With this host of problems, you are required to go to work everyday and if you fail to report to work, your salary will deduced or you are fired from work," said a ministry of interior employee, declining to reveal his name.
He said many workers had their salaries "detained" by senior management for reporting to all for only two to three days.
"They would say your salary is detained until you explain you never came to work," he added.
Government employees had their salaries increased by 300% in February 2016 but the inflation out compete the pay rise.
"One has to choose to quit the job voluntarily because your earning does not help your family or the government may fire you for not reporting to work daily," said James Duang, also a government employee.
Duang said the choice is hard to mark but the economic is taking the toll.
Economists say ending the war in the world’s youngest nation would help revive the economy beside increasing the oil production in Upper Nile and Unity States.