Accueil | News    mardi 11 avril 2006

TEXT- Salava Kiir statement before South Sudan parliament

April 11, 2006 (JUBA) — Following, the text of the Government Policy Statement delivered by the president of the government of Southern Sudan Lt Gen. Salva Kiir mayardit yesterday 10 April at the opening of the second session of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly :

Honourable Speaker, Mr. James Wani Igga,

Honourable Members

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

I salute you in my own name and on behalf of the Government of Southern Sudan. I have the distinct honour to address your august House today to open your second session and to present to you the Policy Statement of the Government of Southern Sudan. However, before I delve into that, I wish to salute the memory of our late leader Dr John Garang de Mabior, the man whose vision has inspired us and contributed to the substance of the policies that we have adopted. May I salute in your name, all our fallen heroes and reassure our wounded heroes, widows and orphans that their government will not forget them at all. I also wish to use this occasion to thank all our friends everywhere for their past or ongoing support.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,

Now that you have returned from your recess after visiting your constituencies and staying with your families for a while, may I welcome you back to Juba, the seat of your august Assembly and our government.

Coming more than five months after the formation of the government, many of you must be wondering as to what caused the delay in presenting this Policy Statement. There are several reasons but the most important one is that your government was established under abnormal conditions. With hardly any personnel to speak of, most Ministers literally single-handedly took on the daunting challenge of establishing their ministries and formulating their policies, plans and programmes of action.

It is the sum total of these policies, plans and programmes of action that I have the privilege to present to you today. As the representatives of our people and their collective watchdog, it is your right and duty to scrutinize and evaluate this policy statement sincerely and responsibly. You are the second branch of government and you constitute a crucial check-and-balance apparatus. Therefore, we in the executive branch of government will take your views and opinions seriously.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honourable Members

As we open this Second session of our Legislative Assembly, I am privileged to say that as a people we have every reason to be proud of our achievements during the first year of the CPA. We have made considerable strides in establishing the essential institutions of governance. At the level of Southern Sudan, we now have 24 functioning ministries which are doing their part in serving our people. State legislatures and governments have been set up in all our ten states. A model state constitution has been approved and each state legislature will incorporate into it whatever provisions they deem necessary to address whatever issues they consider unique to their states. The implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is on course, but there remain important areas where the pace of implementation needs to be accelerated and the manner of implementation brought into conformity with its provisions, the Interim National Constitution, 2005 and the law. Our Civil Service has been established and Ministries are now recruiting their required staff. The Judiciary of Southern Sudan has been established and the Supreme Court of Southern Sudan and other lower courts have been set up. Our citizens will now be able to access justice at the appropriate levels. The Bank of Southern Sudan (BOSS) has been established and its management is now busy organizing its branches throughout Southern Sudan. These should facilitate business and economic activity in general. The reorganization of the SPLA is nearly complete and it is hoped that all other processes attendant on that will now be rapidly realized. All these achievements and others that are interspersed in this statement have been carried out in accordance with the provisions of our Interim Constitution, which your august House had the honour to promulgate last December.

Over the last 20 years our people have been condemned to insecurity, loss of human dignity, displacement from their homes, disease and all forms of deprivation due to the civil war. The war is now over, and apart from pockets of insecurity in parts of Equatoria, there is generally, peace all over Southern Sudan. With the prevalence of peace in Southern Sudan, your government is determined to guarantee the dignity of every citizen on the basis of a good quality of life for every woman, man and child, without regard to race, ethic origin or religion.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,

The most important duty of our government is the provision of protection and security for everybody that resides in Southern Sudan, be they citizens or foreigners. And while we cannot claim that the security situation in Southern Sudan has been completely normalized, we can at least assert that we have fared better than most other countries or regions that had emerged from similar circumstances of a prolonged and bitter civil war.

There have been sporadic outbreaks of violence across Southern Sudan, some related to the activities of other Armed Groups encouraged by sources not comfortable under the peace atmosphere ushered in by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and others attributable to ethnic and sectional clashes over pastures and water points.

Segments of our population, notably in Equatoria, are still unable to enjoy peace in its fullest sense due to the Lord Resistance Army’s (LRA) activities. The menace this ruthless Organization poses to our people must be eliminated once and for all, whether by peaceful means or otherwise. In seeking an end to the destruction of lives and property that the LRA continues to inflict on our people, no option shall be ruled out. I know that you will probably shrug this off as something you have heard all too often before, but I must reiterate our determination that we will make good on our pledge. In recent days, we have witnessed an upsurge in attacks by the so called Lords’ Resistance Army, the most daring ones being a raid on Yambio Town and an attack on Rejaf West, just on the outskirts of Juba Town. But your gallant army, the SPLA, has performed superbly in dealing with these attacks. For its part the Government of Southern Sudan will take appropriate action to stop this menace, meanwhile urging the Sudan Armed Forces to take robust action against the LRA in keeping with its obligation under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the INC 2005. On the other hand, tribal fights involving firearms are on the rise. Firm steps will be taken to ensure that we deal mercilessly with all crimes involving guns, including the illegal possession of firearms, cattle rustling and corruption.

Whereas material constraints had severely limited our capacity to deal with tribal and sectional feuds effectively in the past, the Government of Southern Sudan is now much better equipped to prevent recurrence of bloody clashes among the civil population. We shall deploy all resources at our disposal, including the Police Force to prevent the outbreak of such fights and, if and whenever they do indeed occur, apply the full force of the law including the provision of prompt and satisfactory redress so that citizens do not take the law into their own hands.

Notwithstanding its preoccupation with these security concerns, one primary mission of the SPLA is to safeguard the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and generally ensure that the Agreement does not suffer the fate of the previous Accords that had been scrapped by successive Khartoum-based regimes. In the broader national context, another SPLA duty that is no less important than the protection of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, is the task of ensuring that the process of democratic political transformation that it has launched does not veer off course. To fulfill these missions, the SPLA shall embark on an extensive capacity building program aimed at transforming it into an effective and efficient modern professional army. The Government of Southern Sudan shall use its own resources and further solicit support from external sources as stipulated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Interim National Constitution, 2005, and the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, 2005, to furnish SPLA personnel with both military as well as essential non-military skills in addition to equipment.

It is the duty of our law courts to apply and uphold the law. The Judiciary of Southern Sudan, which already features a Supreme Court and courts of Appeal, shall ensure that justice is done without fear or favor and is exercised strictly in conformity with the Constitution and the law. The fledgling Judiciary of Southern Sudan faces many hurdles. These range from an acute shortage of trained personnel to lack of premises and resource materials. We shall strive to remove these obstacles to enable this critical branch of Government perform its tasks.

Our Executive Branch shall also play its part in assisting the Judiciary to uphold the supremacy of the rule of law. Through the Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development, the Government of Southern Sudan shall seek to lay a strong foundation for a united, peaceful, prosperous and law abiding Southern Sudan based on justice, equality, transparency and accountability, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Among the key tasks the Ministry shall be expected to undertake are the dissemination of basic documents such as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Interim National Constitution, 2005, and the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, 2005, ensuring that all essential legislation at both Southern Sudan and State levels is drafted, enacted and published. The legal framework governing both the operations of businesses and non-profit organizations as well as investments shall be developed so that businesses are incorporated and non-governmental organizations (NGOS), organizations, associations and societies are duly registered and operating according to the law. The acute lack of lawyers in general and of qualified and experienced ones in particular, will always threaten to undermine our ability to deliver. Nevertheless everything possible will be done to alleviate the shortages through a combination of intensive short to medium term and long term training programmes for lawyers.

A well-oiled, smooth running Government machinery requires meticulous coordination. My Office will be assisted in that by the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. It is charged with the responsibility of coordinating overall business of the Council of Ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan and follow-up of the implementation of its resolutions passed in accordance with the Government of Southern Sudan policies, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Interim National Constitution, 2005, and the Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan, 2005.

Government policies demand the existence of an effective administrative machinery in the form of a competent non-partisan public service. One of the factors that has slowed down administration in Southern Sudan, is the fact that we are still engaged in the process of integrating and harmonizing the civil service, which in Southern Sudan and prior to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement had been split between the former administrations of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Coordinating Council for the Southern States respectively. Although this work is nearing completion we have had to resort to approving consolidated pay for civil service cadres formerly under SPLM administration just to enable them earn some pay alongside their other colleagues whose salaries have continued without any disruption.

The Public Service of Southern Sudan shall be guided by the cardinal principle of the need to develop an inclusive, impartial, responsive accountable and efficient Public Service system. Other important pointers shall be the imperatives of managing the Public Service in a manner consistent with Southern Sudan priorities, cost effective delivery of services, provision of equal access to the Public Service for all and the initiation of affirmative action to redress social imbalances.

As an integral part of our human resource development strategy institutional capacity building programs across all sectors shall be stepped up under the guidance and supervision of the Ministry of Labor, Public Service and Human Resource Development. In this regard we plan to rehabilitate vocational training institutions in a number of locations. The survey of Public Service Personnel has been completed and an electronic personnel database will be established in the near future. An interim policy for appointment of key officials and core staff pending the formulation of a public service law is already in place. The formulation of this, law, including subsidiary legislation governing recruitment, appointment, terms and conditions of service, disciplinary procedures and dismissal of personnel shall be expedited. Preparatory work relating to the setting up of the Southern Sudan Public Service Commission has also started in earnest.

The public ought to be kept abreast of what their Government is doing. They are the beneficiaries as well as the potential victims of its actions. We therefore owe them an uninterrupted flow of truthful and objective account of our activities. To that end the Government of Southern Sudan information apparatus shall seek to promote the development of a strong government as well as private media. We shall facilitate the production of local programs and the dissemination of information, especially on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and its implications, so as to empower the people of Southern Sudan and enable them participate in nation building.

Given the prevalence of high illiteracy rates in Southern Sudan, emphasis shall be placed primarily on Radio and Television as the main media for information dissemination. The setting up of public Radio broadcasting stations including FM stations shall be actively pursued and similar private stations encouraged. Coupled with that, we shall work to establish a news agency in Southern Sudan. The Government of Southern Sudan will also seriously explore the establishment of a Satellite-based TV network in order to provide technically high quality broadcasts and expand the reach of its programs within and beyond Sudan, particularly for the benefit of our Diaspora.

Our multi-party democracy is still in its infancy and needs to be nurtured. The values of pluralistic democracy are yet to take root in Southern Sudan and therefore need to be embedded in our political culture. The newly created Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is dedicated to that objective. It will work to forge strong links and relationship with the leadership of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly to ensure smooth coordination of legislative affairs in Southern Sudan. It will launch capacity building projects in concert with the Legislature to help members of the Assembly gain strong grasp of the legislative process and enable members of the public increase their awareness of the important role the legislative branch of government plays in the conduct of public affairs.

To enhance security, provide basic services, promote post-conflict recovery and spur socio-economic development, we need to complement our own domestic efforts with whatever external inputs we can access. The Government of Southern Sudan will formulate and implement policies on how best to directly procure support in a variety of areas from foreign sources, subject only to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ?s restrictions, using the Ministry of Regional Cooperation as its primary instrument. The Ministry will in turn promote these policies employing as its tools, a number of External Liaison Offices.

The Government of Southern Sudan will earnestly solicit technical and material assistance from the international community in all areas where the Government of Southern Sudan has exclusive or concurrent competence, with special emphasis on such priority areas as infrastructure, health, education, food security, law enforcement and security.

We shall engage our immediate neighbors in consolidating regional peace and stability as an indispensable pre-requisite to our own recovery and development. Furthermore we shall work hand in hand with them to lay the foundations of regional economic integration for the common benefit of all the countries of the Region.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honourable Members

Education has been another area where the long war has taken a huge toll. Almost every educational institution, from primary school to university level has suffered considerable destruction or degradation. While physical infrastructure in the form of classrooms and other school buildings, was demolished or abandoned to decay in more than 80% of such institutions, whole generations of our school-age children have gone without education for the full duration of the war.

The government is determined not only to accord education its premier status as an essential service but also to expedite its very delivery and accessibility. In the spirit of our Interim Constitution I wish to reiterate here that we cherish education as a right for every citizen and aim to provide lifelong education for everyone, the kind of education that is relevant and based on the needs of the people and hence has the potential to make them responsible and productive citizens.

The system of education that we have decided to adopt is designed to promote desired values, skills and the right attitudes towards society and national public issues. We aim to provide education that empowers people by grounding the substance of what they learn in local cultures, traditions and values. It is the kind of education that will kindle in them the noble values of self-esteem, dignity, patriotism, hard work and respect and tolerance of other cultures, traditions and beliefs.

As I pledged to our people in my address on the first anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement the government plans to raise the rate of enrolment of children in primary schools from 20% to 52% within this year and the following one. Special attention will be given to girls’ education so that within the same period their enrolment will be increased three-fold from 11% to 35%. We are not going to have a society where the male population is educated while the female component, which at the moment accounts for more than 50%, is largely illiterate. Besides, we believe in the maxim that says, “educate a man and you educate an individual, educate a woman and you educate a nation”.

Village schools will be increased and the quality of their facilities improved. Subject to the availability of resources, some of the existing girls’ primary and secondary schools will be upgraded and turned into boarding schools. For those whom circumstances have deprived of education we shall introduce illiteracy eradication programs with special focus on women.

All this will be done in tandem with the reconstruction of class- rooms and learning spaces with a bias towards under-served and disadvantaged areas. Requisite learning equipment and appropriate classroom furniture will be provided. School feeding programs, particularly in rural schools, will be expanded to reduce to a minimum the incidence of truancy induced by hunger among school children. This measure will in turn contribute to the realization of the dream of our late leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior about taking towns to rural areas. It is the availability of quality essential services like education, health and clean drinking water that will provide our rural folks with the incentive to remain there.

The government shall, within the means available, endeavor to strengthen tertiary and higher education. We shall work to ensure that our universities and institutions of higher learning provide quality education, the kind of education that equips graduates not only with brilliant ideas and theories but also with the skills to apply them in real life. We know that the highly developed nations of the world did not achieve all that technological advancement and scientific progress by merely borrowing from other nations. They generated and utilized novel ideas through the creative capabilities of their own citizens.

Such creativity requires appropriate research facilities and considerable financial input. As I stated in my address to the people on 9th January, the government is committed to support the three Southern Universities of Juba, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile and turn them into centers of excellence and productive scientific research. We will do everything possible to expedite the return of these institutions to their original hubs within this year and provide them with appropriate resources to enable them re-launch their academic mission.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honorable Members,

It goes without saying that the long costly war that our people waged intermittently since independence half a century ago, has been a war of conflicting visions. And whereas wealth and power sharing appeared to capture the limelight, issues of culture and cultural incompatibilities have really always constituted the deep underlying cause of the conflict. Our government is determined to accord culture, in all its encompassing domain, its rightful place in our national life.

The vision of the government of Southern Sudan is to promote and preserve our cultural heritage, achieve excellence in sports and transform Southern Sudan into a healthy sporting nation where ethnic and cultural diversity should become a source of unity and strength. We aim to forge a Southern society in which the youth are conscious, empowered, confident, patriotic and committed to the development and progress of their motherland.

It shall be the duty of this government to promote, protect and preserve the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of our people. It shall work to nurture our rich and diverse artistic traditions in the fields of fine arts, literature and music as well as our folklore. We shall promote knowledge and combat illiteracy by establishing good libraries in rural and urban centers in order to encourage a reading culture among our people. We would like to wean our people from the idle habit of spending their leisure time by engaging in non-productive and time-wasting activities. To help it achieve these goals, the government will rehabilitate cultural institutions that were adversely affected by the war and bring them back to effective existence. It will give support to indigenous cultural organizations and associations in order to promote cultural production in art, music, song and dance, theatre, drama, and literature. Likewise the government shall set up cultural centers in the main towns of Southern Sudan to encourage cultural activities and raise the level and quality of cultural awareness.

In the field of sports, past achievements indicate that Southern Sudan is endowed with great sporting potential. Yet this potential has never been effectively developed and utilized satisfactorily, largely due to the chronic political instability that our country has experienced since independence. The government has formulated plans and strategies for promotion and support of sports development in Southern Sudan not only for the young and able-bodied but also for the elderly and those with special needs.

The government encourages and is determined to promote the participation of women in all sports activities including football. Our women are strong and have the requisite physical attributes to excel in all kinds of sports. I am personally convinced that our women will advance the image of Sudan as a sporting nation in a very few years if we all work to support them. This is an effort that should not be left to the government alone. Parents should encourage their daughters, and husbands their wives, to participate in sports and bring glory to our people. The government will finance the rehabilitation of existing sports facilities and strive to construct world-class sports arenas and stadia.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honorable Members,

The youth of Southern Sudan constitute the largest portion of our population. Their contribution to the struggle for justice, equality and human dignity in Sudan is immeasurable. It is they who bore the brunt of the war and it is their toil, blood and sweat that brought us the peace we are enjoying today. We are confident that they will continue to play a crucial role in the transition to democratic governance and in sustaining the winds of freedom now blowing throughout the country. Their place is therefore central in the plans and programs of our government. Young people have rights and responsibilities just like other groups in our society. Therefore they must enjoy the same rights as other citizens, regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnic origin and political persuasion. Their ministry shall ensure that they enjoy these fundamental rights by implementing programs that enable young people participate in decision-making.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honourable Members,

Before the establishment of the Government of Southern Sudan, the SPLM, which I have the honour and privilege to lead, had adopted an advanced policy in the area of gender equity. It committed itself to a policy whereby at least 25% of positions in all legislative and executive positions would be filled by women. As we speak today, the composition of this august House and the legislative assemblies of our ten states as well as the national legislature in Khartoum, suggest that we are moving in the direction of that target. We have established a separate Ministry of Gender to focus on promoting gender equity issues. We have in our government at the level of Southern Sudan two women ministers and an advisor (another advisor has yet to take up her assignment), and I am pleased to say that they have made me proud by their performance so far. In this Assembly we have women chairing select Assembly Committees. At the level of the states, women have been appointed as deputy governors, deputy speakers, ministers, advisors or commissioners.

This policy is now a cornerstone in the program of action of our government as regards the empowerment of women. All the ministries have already demonstrated an enthusiastic commitment to this policy in the recruitment of their civil servants. Some ministers have even gone the extra mile by leaving some positions in the super scale bracket vacant while they try to find suitable qualified women to occupy them. I am aware that in some states, women seats have been allocated to men . And now that a comprehensive report about this matter has been compiled, I wish to assure you that I shall initiate appropriate measures to redress this digression.

Nevertheless, we shall not lose sight of the imperatives of quality service while pursuing this policy. There are certain professional jobs for which it will be difficult to apply this policy of affirmative action. No persons will be employed as medical practitioners, pharmacists, engineers, judges or lawyers except only on the strength of their academic qualifications. But there are ways through which women can be assisted to access such professions in an accelerated fashion. This is one of the important tasks of the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare, a task in which other ministries of our government are obliged to give any necessary assistance.

In this respect, the Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Affairs has developed policies to enhance the effective participation of women in the economic, social and political life of Southern Sudan. Some of these policies involve the enactment of legislations by this Assembly to realize their objectives. The Ministry plans to establish a Women Resource Center in Juba to act as a focal point for women to access information, train and organize.

The government will support the rehabilitation and implementation of projects designed to improve the income generating capacity of women by ensuring their access to credit facilities and training them in entrepreneurial skills.

In the area of social welfare, the Government of Southern Sudan is committed to develop programs and find ways of improving the social and economic welfare of our people, particularly our wounded heroes and widows. Only an ungrateful society can neglect those of their citizens who have been incapacitated by a war of liberation. We also believe that being disabled does not mean being unable. The government will therefore focus on providing appropriate training to our wounded heroes, each according to his peculiar physical condition, so that they can economically stand on their own feet. That would be good for their self-esteem and equally good for the public treasury.

The government will soon reach an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross to transfer to Juba the Lopiding Orthopedic Centre which used to operate in Lokichokio, Kenya. This facility will be improved and equipped to become a major rehabilitation institution for our wounded heroes and others with disabilities that require continual intervention. The government will also rehabilitate the Rejaf School for the Blind.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honourable Members

The health of our people occupies a central position in the roster of priorities of the Government of Southern Sudan. Together with security, education and physical infrastructure they account for the bulk of our budgetary allocations for 2006.

The government has already implemented an emergency project for supplying all major hospitals in the South with life-saving drugs, a project partly funded from the Multi-Donor Trust Fund. There are several vital programs being undertaken by the Ministry of Health. These include the rehabilitation of existing health facilities, most of which are almost unrecognizably dilapidated. The standard of major hospitals in our main towns of Juba, Malakal and Wau will be upgraded and they will be supplied with modern medical equipment to facilitate the delivery of adequate health care. A modern hospital, the John Garang Memorial Hospital, shall be built in Juba as a gift from our reliable friend, Norway.

Our doctors and other health workers possess the professional knowledge and skills to look after our health. But they obviously lack the modern medical facilities and equipment that help them deliver effective medical care. At the moment, we are not in a position to procure the state-of-the-art equipment that has now become standard issue in the developed countries, not just because of cost but also because such equipment require fail-proof regular supply of electricity. Nevertheless we are determined to resort to any appropriate technologies that can function under our prevailing circumstances. In the meantime, the Ministry of Health has drawn up plans for training health workers in various aspects of medical care.

The government would like to see a healthy population where the majority of the people do not have to see a doctor for most of their life. Such a goal can only be realized through a combination of many things, principally widespread education and a high level of consciousness about health issues among the citizenry. In this respect the government will focus on strengthening the primary health care system which was introduced in the 1970s but which has now deteriorated to almost non-existence. This will be accompanied by intensive control programs for endemic diseases like malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS. Regular campaigns to combat other debilitating diseases like sleeping sickness, kalazar, river blindness, guinea-worm and leprosy will also be carried out, focusing on areas where they are endemic. With assistance from the Carter Center, WHO, UNICEF and other organizations, the Government of Southern Sudan hopes to eradicate the guinea-worm disease from the whole of Southern Sudan by the year 2009. All these plans and activities will go hand with programs for providing clean drinking water and environmental sanitation.

Mother and child care will be boosted. The government is determined to stop the untimely but preventable death of expecting mothers in delivery.

We must reverse the horrifying statistics of maternal death and infant mortality in Southern Sudan before the end of this year. For those of you who are not aware, Southern Sudan suffers 1700 maternal deaths per 100,000 deliveries and 250 infant and child deaths per 1000. Furthermore, the government plans to set up fully-equipped referral hospitals, one in each state.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honorable Members,

As I have stressed above, the economic recovery of Southern Sudan cannot be achieved without a firm commitment of this Government to all our development objectives. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has clearly defined our economic development strategy in terms of addressing the issues of eradication of poverty, attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, guaranteeing the equitable distribution of wealth, redressing imbalances of income and achieving a decent standard of life for the people of Southern Sudan. In order to achieve this object the following specific areas shall be targeted in order to bring about an immediate change in the lives of our people. We plan to promote activities in the areas of Agriculture and Forestry ; Livestock and Fisheries ; Cooperatives and Rural Development ; Industry and Mining ; Irrigation and Water Resources ; Commerce, Trade and Supply ; Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism. Above all, and in order to achieve these development objectives, housing, road network and telecommunications infrastructure must be developed all over Southern Sudan.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable members,

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry shall strive to make Southern Sudan fully food security compliant, at household and regional levels, to the extent of producing quality surplus products for local, regional and international markets. Improved agricultural and forestry services shall become a driving force for our national socio-economic development. We shall work to improve the livelihood of rural Southern Sudan without compromising the sustainability of its natural resources for future generations.

Our priorities shall be the timely provision of inputs to all households, mobilization and motivation of the farming communities to engage in agricultural production. This will improve the standard of nutrition by increasing output, quality, access and availability of food for consumption. Strategic mechanization, particularly in areas of high productivity, will be a central part of this policy. Similarly, New technology will be introduced with the aim to increase productivity of both labour and land, which will in turn lead to the establishment of food processing and marketing facilities in the rural areas. It will therefore be necessary to promote micro-financing through agricultural banks and group based systems to encourage the farming communities and improve the current traditional agricultural practices. In this area the Ministry will promote gender equity by making it easy for women to access factors of production. Furthermore, we will implement a stringent program to regain and develop the forestry resources of our people. In this regard, the government will deploy plantation teams, including forest guards to prevent the devastation which is being visited upon our forests.

The Livestock and Fisheries sector is important since over 30 million heads of livestock and a potential of fish catches ranging between 100 and 300 thousand tons per year exist in Southern Sudan. That potential is capable of making a significant contribution to food security and national economic growth. Already these two sectors directly or indirectly provide employment and means of livelihood to millions of households. The protein requirement of the population of Southern Sudan can be satisfied through adequate and rational exploitation and sustainable development of these sectors. Besides, a lot of the much needed foreign exchange earnings could be generated through export trade in these sectors. The vision of our Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries is therefore the achievement of sustainable livestock and fisheries production levels (quantities and qualities) that bring benefits to producers and satisfy consumers’ demand for animal protein, while contributing to poverty eradication and economic growth in Southern Sudan. The mission is to create an enabling environment that supports indigenous livestock and fisheries producers and investors to maximize production, marketing and trade in quality livestock and fish products, while ensuring sustainability for the natural resource base. This shall be realized through the eradication of economic diseases such as rinderpest and capacity building in technical and business skills already being provided through Marial Lou Livestock Training Centre in Warrap State and the Fisheries Training Centre in Padak, Jonglei State.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,

The rural areas of Southern Sudan represent the worst concentrations of poverty. No progress can be made towards a life of human dignity for our people as a whole unless we ensure the development of these areas. In this regard, the Government of Southern Sudan will implement a rural development programme for the integrated development of the rural areas. This will require the participation of all departments at all levels of government, including the traditional leaders.

The Government of Southern Sudan will put emphasis on the development of a co-operative movement to combine the financial, labour and other resources of the masses of our people, to rebuild our communities and engage the people in their own development. This strategy will be a translation into action of the SPLM policy of “taking towns to rural areas”.

We shall promote activities that will move our people away from a subsistence based economy to a development-oriented economy. These will involve activities like the adoption of appropriate technologies e.g. animal traction, wind and solar power ; cooperative societies that avail credit to the rural population and protection of the environment through forestation, soil conservation and other environmental measures.

The Ministry of Cooperatives and Rural Development shall enhance the formation of cooperative societies, community based organizations (CBOS), civil society organizations (CSOS) as vehicles of community empowerment and poverty eradication. The Ministry will work to provide potable water supply systems for the rural population with the view to alleviating the chronic shortage of water for domestic and livestock use. It will also implement programs for training community development officers and community leaders in those rural areas and, in this regard, the Amadi Institute, which specializes in that kind of training, will be rehabilitated.

As all of you are aware commerce and trade have collapsed in Southern Sudan. The Government, through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Supply shall create a conducive atmosphere for demonstrating to Southern Sudanese the latest technological innovations in small cottage industries. The objective will be to exchange technical and commercial information on the expansion of trade transactions in order to enhance economic development. The Ministry will encourage the improvement of the quality of our local products by comparing them with similar foreign products so as to enhance our ability to compete in the international market. It will work to create favourable conditions for exposing our exportable commodities to potential foreign markets. This will involve the introduction of trade exhibitions to enable foreign traders and investors see first hand the quality of our products and hence encourage joint venture products in all trade sectors. The Ministry shall plan for marketing research on new technologies and modern production methods which would have the capacity to boost production and improve the quality of our products.

Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members

In the field of investment, the policy of our government is to encourage foreign investors to work in partnership with local entrepreneurs to set up businesses or industries. The potential for investment opportunities is immense. For instance, in the agricultural sector and forestry there are opportunities for production of cash crops such as coffee, tea, tobacco, cereals, pulses, fruits and forestry products. In the area of livestock, our huge animal wealth offers great opportunities for meat production and dairy products. Furthermore, the existence of mineral deposits of metals and other subterranean materials in Southern Sudan is well known. Minerals like gold, copper, tin, and others abound beneath our soil and investors will be encouraged to engage in this sector. Although we are still in the process of putting the finishing touches to our Investment Policy and Legal Framework, I can confidently say Southern Sudan is now open for business and investors are welcome. This framework will seek to create an enabling environment which will make Southern Sudan attractive to investors by offering incentives to prospective private foreign investors. The investment friendly climate thus created will help stimulate sustainable economic growth in Southern Sudan.

Since the restoration of peace in our country, a large number of our businessmen and businesswomen have entered into the retail business. . This has to be encouraged and the government will strive to provide short and long term loans to such business people to enable them continue and improve their capital.

In our efforts for overall development it is important to industrialize Southern Sudan. This task shall be spearheaded by the Ministry of Industry and Mining which is delegated to promote and coordinate industrial and mining activities in both the public and private sectors in Southern Sudan. This ministry will streamline the necessary industrial administrative machinery in all sectors under its portfolio by formulating codes and regulations and in accordance with laws that will emanate from this august House. Apart from the reconstruction of its premises the Ministry shall immediately investigate the viability of the ten old industry projects damaged or affected by the civil war and determine the possibilities of rehabilitation and reconstruction. These projects include Nzara Industrial Complex, Mongala Industrial Complex , Wau Fruit and Vegetable Canning Factory, Melut Sugar Factory, Tonj Kenaf Factory, Mongala Sugar Factory, Wau Beer Brewery, Aweil Rice Hulling Mill, Yirol (Groundnuts) Oil Factory, Malakal Papyrus/Pulp Factory. The government shall also carefully evaluate new industrial projects and determine their optimum sizes. These include Mongala Ginning, Spinning and Weaving Factory, Mongala Meat and Poultry Processing Factory, Western Equartoria Fruit Canning Factory, Aweil Groundnuts Oil Mill and Rice Bran Mill, Kapoeta Cement Factory, Raga Cement Factory, Malakal Fish Processing Industry, Mongala Fish Chilling plant industry, medium-scale grinding mills, medium-scale bakeries, ceramic Industry, Lulu nut oil mill, Laloub nut mill. Other small-scale industries such as groundnuts, sesame, sunflower, hulling and oil mills, prefabricated iron workshops, mechanical repair and electricity workshops, clothing industries shall be investigated and setup whenever proven to be viable.

Mr. Speaker,

It is important for Southern Sudan to have oil refineries set up in locations which shall be accessible to the largest number of towns and population centers. Problems of fuel shortages in many places throughout Southern Sudan continue to be a major obstacle to the delivery of essential services and execution of development projects. In view of our ambitious programs for development and industrialization, the need for oil fuel supplies will become even more acute than before. However, as a short term solution, the government plans to procure fuel tanker fleets and fuel pumps to provide fuel for services and small industries. The government will also try to acquire river barges for the same purpose using the river Nile to distribute oil fuel products to the various towns and villages along its banks. The government also plans to update existing feasibility studies for the construction of hydro- electric power projects at Fulla and Badden falls south of Juba and Katire hill streams in Equatoria respectively. If such projects were to be realized they would generate enough energy for the whole Sudan and still have a surplus for export.

Mr. Speaker Honorable Members,

Our Wildlife (fauna and flora) is a national natural wealth and heritage that should be preserved, protected, propagated, managed and utilized sustainably for the present and future generations of Southern Sudan. In this regard, the newly created and expanded Ministry of Environment, Wildlife Conservation and Tourism is charged with ensuring that the environment of Southern Sudan is protected against harmful human activities, wildfires, waste deposits, water pollution and any natural hazards. It is assigned the responsibility to develop the designated parks and game reserves for the protection of endangered and rare species of our wild animals. The intention is to make Southern Sudan an environmentally friendly place for both humans and animals.

It is therefore necessary to recruit, train, arm and properly equip an effective force of Wildlife officers and other ranks to guarantee the full protection of our environment and wildlife against poachers and other unauthorized predators. The wildlife authorities shall endeavor to provide water during the dry season by digging haffirs and deepening natural water catchment areas for wildlife. Bore holes shall be dug for the use of wildlife forces throughout our game parks and forest reserves. It is also the mission of the Ministry to sensitize the communities by organizing a wildlife education and awareness campaign through the media (Radio and TV, newspapers, magazines and journals). The Ministry shall cooperate with the Ministry of Education to ensure that wildlife education and awareness shall be included in the school curriculum. Trans-boundary conservation and protection of wildlife shall be encouraged and coordinated.

In light of the existence of a huge tourism potential in Southern Sudan, it is important to find ways of developing a tourist industry that can generate substantial revenues and turn Southern Sudan into a major world-class tourist destination. Therefore, the Ministry shall encourage the public and private sectors to invest in tourism by building its requisite infrastructure represented by hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities. Such natural scenic spots like the Fulla Rapids, Gilo, Madibi and several National parks should be developed so that they become must-visit tourist destinations. The government shall publicize the tourist attractions of Southern Sudan both locally and internationally in order to attract tourists or holiday makers looking for some quiet spot. In the meantime a program for training the necessary work force in hotel management and hospitality industry shall be implemented.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,

No meaningful development can take place without a good road network in Southern Sudan. The policy of the Government is to construct modern roads that will connect various parts of Southern Sudan internally and link them as well to the outside world. I believe you are all aware that this is an area of joint responsibility between the Government of Southern Sudan and the Government of National Unity which is committed to construct a number of Peace Roads. One of these roads extends form Renk to Paloch to Malakal and Bor. The Government of Southern Sudan shall extend that road to Juba. During his recent visit to Rumbek on 14th February 2006, H.E. the President of the Republic, Field Marshal Omar Hassan Ahmed El Bashir declared that the Government of National Unity would build the Rumbek-Shambe and the Rumbek-Bentiu roads.

Before the establishment of the Government of Southern Sudan, the SPLM had an on-going programme of emergency road repairs planned to cover a total of 1716km of roads. Most of this programme was being implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) which has now completed a total of 1003km. Among these are Kaya - Faraksika - Rumbek, Yei - Mundri, Rumbek - Payii River and Narus - Torit roads. Only a week ago, I had the pleasure of opening a vital bridge on Payii River near Yirol which was donated and executed by the Italian Government. I seize this opportunity to thank the Italians, the WFP and all other friends that are helping us in this area.

Major road repair works continue on many roads, including Juba - Bor - Panyagor, Nimule - Juba, Rumbek - Tonj. Further emergency repairs are planned for more than 2000 km of road throughout Southern Sudan. These include Faraksika - Yambio - Wau, Wau - Aweil, Wau - Gogrial - Abyei, Wau - Raja, Malakal - Nasir - Jekau, Panyagor - Malakal and Narus - Boma roads.

A vital emergency roads project is planned for Juba and funding has already been secured from both government and MDTF financial inputs. Contracts for this and other vital projects for Juba have been awarded to foreign companies after a long process of elimination and selection. It is expected that they will be completed within the coming six months.

The policy framework of the government also recognizes the potential for the development of the railway transport system in Southern Sudan. This will involve carrying out a feasibility study that will review and determine the potential need for a rail network. In this regard priority will be given to the rehabilitation of the Wau-Aweil-Babanusa railway, and the construction of a railway line connecting Juba to Mombasa, either through Uganda or western Kenya. We are also discussing with the Democratic Republic of the Congo the linking of Juba-Yei-Lasu with Kisangani by railway in order to gain access to the Atlantic and open up its markets to Southern Sudan.

The River Nile has always been a major navigation route from the north up to Juba through which huge amounts of commodities and goods reached the South. It is now seriously silted up and clogged by an assortment of objects that were dropped into the river-bed. It therefore needs urgent dredging so that it can be used to its full capacity. Along the Nile to Kosti, there are 15 ports, all of which require improvement and development. The Ministry of Transport and Roads considers all of them as deserving priority attention, but the fact that such a huge rehabilitation programme would require a lot of money means that only a few of them could be started this year. River ports like Juba, Mongalla, Bor, Adok, Shambe, Malakal and Renk would obviously be among the first to be rehabilitated or developed.

It is the policy of the government to repair and maintain all major air-ports and airstrips that have been used at one time or the other in Southern Sudan. Priority will go to Juba Airport, our only International Airport, with the view to bringing it up to a truly international standard. Other airports include Wau, Malakal and Rumbek. The Ministry recognizes the need for airports in the States capitals and will work closely with State governments to identify and survey the areas which they have selected for the new airports.

The restoration of transport infrastructure will help not only in the field of economic development and promotion of trade but also in facilitating the return and settlement of our internally displaced persons (IDPs). It will also boost the transport industry and thereby create more employment opportunities.

In view of all these plans, programmes and activities it will soon be necessary to establish public and private institutions with clear lines of authority to undertake and manage the reconstruction, rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of transport infrastructure and services throughout Southern Sudan.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honorable Members,

The government of Southern Sudan is aware of the acute housing crisis in the whole of Southern Sudan. For whereas the war destroyed both public and private buildings, the fact that millions of citizens were forced to flee their homes and become internally displaced somewhere inside the Sudan, has meant that such huge numbers of people will face many difficulties when they choose to return home. Your august House and the government have already experienced this crisis. There is virtually no office accommodation for most of the work force necessary to make the ministries operate at their optimum capacity. There are also no houses for at least the senior public servants. As a matter of urgency, immediate maintenance and rehabilitation activities shall commence on public buildings such as schools, hospitals, offices and residences that have fallen into ruin from neglect. New buildings in the form of classrooms, hospital wards etc will be constructed as planned and budgeted for by the various ministries and departments in the current annual budget.

With regard to the problem of water supply in most of the major towns of the South, there is a plan to carry out feasibility studies for water supply systems for the 10 towns in Southern Sudan i.e. the Nine State capitals and Juba. There are also plans for the rehabilitation of existing water stations and the provision of pumps and pipes as necessary.

Electricity services have also suffered the fate of all other services. There is an urgent need for rehabilitation of damaged or abandoned electrical generators, construction of new power stations and the installation of new generators wherever feasible.

The Ministry of Housing will assist the States in the supervision and revision of maps and master plans for each of the ten main towns of Southern Sudan. It will collaborate with them in solving the problems of squatters and the planning of villages and provide guidelines for land distribution. Similarly, a crucial step in the sanitation programme will be to rehabilitate the existing septic tanks at government buildings and public latrines at local markets. Plans are also under way for the provision of refuse bins for use in the larger towns of the South. Appropriate numbers of tipper trucks will also be provided as one of the essential measures to address the problem of urban sanitation.

Mr. Speaker Sir, Honourable Members,

The people of Juba and indeed all other areas of Southern Sudan have experienced the frustrating lack of a telecommunications network, a fact that has had a negative impact either on their official work as public servants or their private businesses. The Ministry of telecommunications and Postal Services is working hard to issue new licenses to reputable telephone companies that can provide reliable telephone, particularly mobile, services to our people. The government is committed to the modernization of our telecommunications infrastructure with a view to offer affordable services to consumers to promote investment and economic growth.

It is our intention to put an end to the chronic network failure that has been afflicting the whole South since the Government of Southern Sudan came into office. As a short term solution, we are in the process of establishing a complete V-SAT based telecommunications network system in the ten states of Southern Sudan.

Mr. Speaker, Honorable Members,

Please allow me at this juncture to reiterate that I will not tolerate any manifestation of corruption at whatever level of government and by whoever no matter what their status may be. We are committed to an honest, transparent and accountable government and are determined to take action against anybody who flouts or contravenes this cardinal principle.

In combating corruption, the government shall address both the private sources of corruption in government as well as the public sector individuals who solicit or accept illicit gains.

In its fight against corruption, the Government of Southern Sudan will follow a three-pronged approach inspired by effective anti-corruption practices of various other countries. These include :

Prevention - by reducing the opportunities for corruption, mainly by ensuring that government regulations are as simple and transparent as possible ;
Enforcement - where swiftness and certainty of punishment is more effective than severity of punishment ;
Education - to produce a climate where integrity is cherished as the norm and corruption is derided as the exception.

All these measures will be crowned with the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Southern Sudan whose Act and terms of reference are now being drafted before being presented as a bill to your august House. In the meantime contacts will be made with Transparency International with the view to establishing a Southern Sudan chapter as early as practicable.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,

Despite the fact that more than one year has passed since the conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the overwhelming majority of our IDPs, not to speak of the refugees, still remain in squalid conditions of shanty towns around major towns in the North. The government has allocated an initial amount of US$ 24 to immediately start repatriating those who are willing to return to their homes. This process will continue for some time and will require more funds to see it through. The Government is committed to help every citizen return to his/her place of origin, because it is a duty we cannot shirk. The government remains deeply committed to the retrieval of Southern Sudanese women and children abducted and enslaved in Northern Sudan. We shall also work to help resolve the problems facing our refugees in Egypt and lend a helping hand to those among them who wish to return home.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,

Our compatriots in Darfur continue to suffer under war conditions that are not dissimilar to what used to prevail in Southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains or Southern Blue Nile before the conclusion of the CPA. The SPLM, and indeed your government as an institution, continue to participate in the search for a lasting solution to this conflict. A few days ago, Vice President Ali Osman Mohd Taha visited Juba to consult with me on a unified negotiating position for the SPLM and the National Congress Party on this conflict. I am optimistic that this close coordination will be reflected in a positive outcome for the current round of peace talks in Abuja which I hope will be the last round. We are profoundly grateful to Nigeria for its perseverance in hosting and moderating the peace talks on Darfur.

Eastern Sudan also continues to experience insecurity and instability because the local populations there are engaged in a low-key insurgency with the aim to pressure the national government to address their grievances. Similar efforts are being made to resolve that problem too. It is our wish that all these conflicts be resolved peacefully so that our whole nation can reap the fruits of peace and stability.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,

Allow me to salute on behalf of us all, our brothers and sisters in the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile. May I assure them that we are very pleased with their commendable success in running their areas and maintaining security under very difficult conditions. Your government will always stand in solidarity with them and seek to support them to the extent its capacity permits.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,

Before I leave this podium, I wish to underline the importance of promoting and maintaining the unity of our people. Our people look up to you to take the lead in making this a reality. Without unity, all efforts for sustaining peace and laying the foundation for economic reconstruction and development of the Southern Sudan shall be in vain.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is the policy statement of your government. We are committed to translate the programmes outlined here into concrete achievements that will make a difference in the livelihood of our people. Some projects indicated herein will obviously drag into next year but the intension is to see all those plans become a tangible reality. I encourage you to deliberate on it as candidly as you wish, because we believe that a clearly articulated feedback from you will help crystallize our ideas and consolidate our performance.

I wish you success in carrying out your weighty constitutional responsibility. May God bless you all.