Finance Ministry blamed for failing to prioritizes agriculture

By: Bullen Bala Alexander

A Member of Parliament at the Transitional National Legislature Assembly (TNLA) has blamed the Ministry of Finance for failing to prioritize activities of agriculture in the country.

Deng Tong Kuol, the Chairperson of Committee on Agriculture and Food Security, Livestock and Fisheries at TNLA said the Ministry of Agriculture is facing difficulties to run its duties due to lack of support from the country’s Ministry of Finance.

He said agriculture as one of the key ministries in the country has its own bank to run its activities and government is supposed to allocate budget for the bank every year.

“It is only that we do not want to accuse each other as a government but really the Ministry of Finance has failed to prioritize the activities of agriculture in the country,” Tong said.

 “In every budget proposal there were some amounts proposed in billions to run the agricultural activities in the country and to be handed over to agriculture bank but it is unlucky that we are not seeing the budget delivered,” he said.

He said in the 2018/2019 budget about 1.5 billion SSP was proposed to control the spread of Fall Army Warm in the country but out of that nothing has been received from the Ministry of Finance.

Tong said could it not been the support from the other partners and friendly countries the disease would have not been controlled.

“We proposed 1.5billion in 2018/2019 budget when we heard about the outbreak Fall Army Warm which did not happen, and this time when we heard about Desert Locust we proposed 2 billion SSP to address the issues of these pest,” Tong said.

He said out of that the Ministry of Finance refused to confirm any amount neither to committee or the agricultural bank.

Tong revealed that it would not be a problem for agricultural Ministry if there was money in its bank, adding that they would not be looking for international partners for help.

“It is very unfortunate because, if we prioritize ourselves in the agriculture in the country I think many of our problems will be solved and everything will be easy for people in the country,” Tong lamented.

Meanwhile, the Chairperson reiterated his commitment to work hard with his committee on agriculture and food security at TNLA to continue pushing for the government through the Ministry of Finance to release the amount needed for the agricultural activities in the country.

He appealed to the Ministry of Finance to prioritize the agricultural activities in the country by releasing any amount approved for running the agricultural activities.

Last year in one of its press releases, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec said the Ministry of Finance had totally failed to release some of the money approved to track the agricultural activities in the country.

“The council of ministers approved some amounts for controlling of these pests such as Fall Army Worm and Desert Locust but unfortunately nothing really materialized form the Ministry of Finance,” he revealed.

He warned that if country’s policy toward agriculture was not changed, South Sudan will continue to suffer as the food insecurity situation in the country will remain unresolved.

“We need to start doing our things by our own not always depending much on our partners but we can go to them where it is beyond our control,” Adigo said.

“Simply I am saying the Ministry of Finance has to be serious when it comes to the issue of agriculture and food security in the country.”

Rual Makuei Thiang, the Managing Director of the Agricultural Bank of South Sudan said in order to improve farming system in the country, the government needs to provide the required guarantee to agricultural sector.

“I think, in both cases the Central Bank of South Sudan and the Ministry of Finance and Planning needs to earmark a considerable share in commodity protocol, foreign credit, and be solicited to provide the required guarantee,” Thiang said last year.

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