MPs upbeat about passing 2021/2022 budget on time

MPs upbeat about passing 2021/2022 budget on time
Jemma Nunu Kumbo, Speaker of the Reconstituted Parliament (Photo by Kitab Unango/City Review)

The designated Chairperson of the Specialised Communication Committee at the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly, Paul Yohanes, has said the Members of Parliament are ready to receive the long-awaited 2021/2022 budget for discussion.

He said they were expecting to receive the budget from the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in the third week of October.

Yohanes made the statement while addressing the reporters on Saturday in Juba

 “I want to say that in a while, this legislature will start its parliamentary oversight and scrutiny business, and this commences next week with reports of two select committees. The first is the select committee to consider the speech of His Excellency, the President of the Republic of South Sudan during his address to the nation before the national legislature on 30 August 2021,’’ he said.

“This will be followed by the second select committee which was tasked to amend and table a new conduct of business regulation 2011 before the national legislature,’’ he added, as he further assured that “thereafter the long-awaited bill on the 2021/2022 budget would follow in the subsequence weeks’’.

On September 24, a regular cabinet meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir passed an SSP287.04 billion budget for the 2021/2022 fiscal year. This comes three months behind the schedule.

The cabinet did not make the source of funding for this year’s budget public. However, South Sudan depends on oil revenue by 98 per cent to finance its developmental projects including the payment of civil servants’ salaries.

The government, in 2019/2020, ran the country without the legal budget. This prompted political commentators and civil activists’ criticism, but the government attributed the hitch to the delay in the reconstitution of the parliament.

Though the public was yet to ascertain the priority of this year’s budget, the defence took precedence over development and basic social service delivery in the past five years’ fiscal budget.

However, the Minister of Information who doubles as Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth described the 2021/2022 budget as a “good attempt” by the revitalised government.

“It was realised at the end that the budget was a good attempt because this is the first budget. Last year we did not have [the] budget, we were using the budget of 2019/2020, and this [year] we have come up with a budget; it is highly appreciated,” Makuei told reporters after the cabinet meeting on Friday, September 24.

After the first reading, the budget will undergo the second and third readings before the lawmaker’s approval for the President to sign into law to pave the way for its execution.