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Members of Parliament walk out after the sitting was adjourned (Photo: Kidega Livingstone)

By Kidega Livingstone

Members of Parliament yesterday blocked the Finance Minister Salvatore Garang Mabiordit from reading the 2019/2020 fiscal year budget demanding payment of civil servants’ salaries for the six months they have worked for.

They also demanded explanations on how last year’s budget was executed.

When Speaker Anthony Lino Makana invited Minister Mabiordit to read the draft budget for the next financial year, all the MPs blocked the minister from reading the budget.

The MPs said the Finance Minister should not proceed with the budget reading until payment of the six months salaries of civil servants for which money was allocated in last year’s budget.

Dharui Mabor, MP representing Western Lakes Sate-Rumbek who is also the Chairperson for Subcommittee of East African Community Affairs in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) said they wanted to know why the budget was being tabled before the government could clear deficits for both government employees regionally and internationally.

“The financial bills will never be tabled until the six months salaries are paid and the Minister of Finance will tell us where the reserve of the budget is because is budget being proposed without knowing what is the reserve and if we have the reserve, why are we not paying the six months salaries of the civil servants as well as clearing other debts?” Mabor asked.

He added that the government failed to pay its obligations to regional and international blocs because of weakness from the executive.

“We are very bad in diplomatic regional and international cooperation because we are not paying our debt and our resource envelop is very clear within the region. In South Sudan we have money and people of South Sudan should know that we have money,” he added.

Mabor said it was right for the country to propose the financial year’s budget, but that it was not right for the governing authority to budget when knowing that there is deficit.

“That is the indication that government does not care about the employees. Look now, the army is suffering silently and they have been in a severe patience for seven months without being paid and we are calling them a national army which defends the sovereignity of this country,” he said.

“The Parliament will not accept until these seven months salaries are paid to the army,” Mabor added.

On her part, Elizabeth Adut, representing Northern Bahr el Ghazal State in the TNLA said she rejected tabling of the budget because of the suffering of government employees who go for months without salaries.

“I rise to cancel this budget based on some issues that our armies are now cutting trees for charcoal in order for their family to survive. Teachers left government schools and they are looking for greener pastures in Non-Governmental Organizations because of little salaries and sometimes there are no salaries for six months especially at the grassroots level, what are we doing?” she asked.

“We are now presenting the budget of 2019 and 2020 where is our benefit and the salaries of the states are not paid, what are we doing? Roads are full of soldiers. It is good killings reduced in Juba but outside Juba some people are depending on killing on the road because they want money,” she added.

However, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Bashir Gbandi said that the budget bill that was supposed to be discussed was about “the nation and the people and it is something to do with the lives of the people.”

“The atmosphere that I am seeing here now would not allow us to proceed and I am appealing to our emotion that as concerned citizens and the representatives of the people, you have every rights to raise issues on behalf of the people of South Sudan but let us do it responsibly,” he said of the roar and nose from MPs.

“I am asking the speaker for harmony and unity of this House. Let us postpone this meeting,” he added.

The Speaker of Parliament, Anthony Lino Makana said that he had listened to the concerns of Members of Parliament directed to the Minister of Finance and Planning.

“I hereby adjourn the meeting for today (yesterday until I call you again,” he said.




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