Oyet warns South Sudan faces ‘economic trap’ due to private interests

Oyet warns South Sudan faces ‘economic trap’ due to private interests
Oyet warns South Sudan faces ‘economic trap’ due to private interests

Africa-Press – South-Sudan. South Sudan’s ongoing economic crisis is “man-made” and a result of “state capture”, according to Oyet Nathaniel, First Deputy Speaker of the Transitional Parliament, and deputy chairman of the main opposition party.

Oyet, in an opinion piece, blamed the crisis on the government’s failure to balance public interest and the economic control exerted by certain individuals and groups. He described the economic situation as an “economic trap” where growth is hindered because those in power prioritize private gain over public services.

“The prevailing economic situation is man made and self-inflicted. It is the failure to balance between the national interest of providing goods and services for the citizens and maintaining the state capture by private/group individuals,” he said.

Oyet cited the government’s inability to pay civil servants’ salaries as a key example of this failure.

“The US Dollars is controlled by individuals rather than by the government this is why the economy is experiencing a running inflation. From the lifting of crude oil to the use of the Dollar income, South Sudan has lost control over its valuable resources,” Oyet wrote.

“The so-called ‘failure to execute the FY2023/2024 budget satisfactorily’ is the failure to balance this mutually exclusive relationship and interest between the state of South Sudan and private entrepreneurs. You cannot satisfy both masters. They are mutually exclusive. Given the scarce and inelastic resources,” he added.

Oyet asserts that the lack of control over resources, including oil revenue, has contributed to the economic crisis.

He calculates South Sudan’s potential revenue despite noting factors like oil pre-sales and debt servicing.

“The idea that South Sudan lacks resources is fiction. With speculation for elections the situation is expected to worsen as most of the companies and individuals controlling the economy are directly or indirectly linked to the centre of decision making or influence in the country,” he said.

“There’s an urgent need to mobilize resources and divert the same to finance electoral campaigns. The ministry of finance is the only available avenue to mobilize such resources,” Oyet added.

Oyet concludes by calling for a people-led constitutional process to restructure the government and decentralize power and resources away from these private groups.

“The real issue is the management of the economy. The management is not by the Ministry of Finance but the invisible hands and companies that are embedded in the economy. This is how devastating state capture can be, just in one sector,” he wrote.

“It is imperative and a necessity that the people-led Permanent Constitution making process be implemented, to restructure the system of government, and resources control, define the nature of the state and assert the sovereignty of the people to take charge of their affairs,” he said.

“2011, John Luk Constitution has led to a situation of over centralization of powers and resources in the central government leading to misappropriation of resources with impunity,” he added.

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