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South Sudan’s finance ministry cancels all unpaid cheques

August 8, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s finance minister Stephen Dhieu Dau has cancelled unpaid cheques owed to businessmen until a new fiscal budget is passed.

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South Sudan minister Stephen Dhieu Dau (Getty photo)

In an order published on Monday, Dhieu said lack of money prompted the cancellations.

"The financial year for 2015/2016 is closed," read the order placed in the local media.

South Sudan new financial year starts on July 1, but the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) formed in April has failed to prepare the country’s new budget.

Civil servants have not been paid for over two months, owing to the economic crisis in a country, which largely depends on revenues from oil to fund its annual budget.

The cheques canceled were issued to South Sudanese contractors by former minister of finance, David Athorbei. Dhieu replaced Athorbei in a mini-cabinet reshuffle recently.

A new fiscal year, sources within the finance ministry told Sudan Tribune, would be tabled before the council of ministers and forwarded to the assembly within this month.

According to local media reports, the move to cancel all the unpaid cheques was part of efforts by the new finance minister to "combat rampant corruption and payments made to shell companies that have not delivered goods or services to the government."

(ST)