National, News, Politics

Finally Parliament Passes SSP 338 Billion Budget

Jema Nunu Kumba Rt. Hon. Speaker of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislature moderating the Extraordinary Sitting No.1/2022 on the third and final reading of the 2021/2022 fiscal year budget on Thursday in Juba

By Philip Buda Ladu

The Reconstituted Transitional National Legislature (RTNL) has on Thursday passed the long overdue budget for the Fiscal Year 2021/2022, 8 months later into the financial year.

The budget ceiling of 287 billion SSP that was approved by the Cabinet and presented to the parliament by the National Minister of Finance and Planning Agak Achuil Lual on February 2nd 2022 was passed by the lawmakers in the RTNL with some amendments and observations.

The first Draft budget ceiling of 287 billion South Sudanese Pounds for the Fiscal 2021/2022 tabled to the August house for its scrutiny was raised to the tune of 338 billion Pounds.

The Rt. Hon. Speaker of the Transitional National Legislature Jema Nunu Kumba committed the financial bill to the Specialized Committee for Finance and Planning to scrutinize the bill and report back to the house within 21 days.

The financial Bill was taken through all the necessary procedural reading stages up to its passing by the Transitional National Legislature with all amendments and observations in its entirety on Thursday in its third and fourth, final reading.

The Finance Committee said it critically analyzed the concerns raised by the clusters which demanded for more allocations to spending agencies. And as such, the committee was able to raise the budget ceiling to SSP 338,043,747,701.

The 338 billion ceiling was raised based on the reasons that, there was an overpaid amount to Sudan for the TFA at the tune of 13.9 million USD left hanging; the Ministry of Finance and Planning also still gives Sudan an amount of 840,000 barrels per month as TFA in the FY 2021/2022 yet the money owed to Sudan was cleared in December 2021.

Increasing collection of non-oil revenues as reported by the Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA); the difference according to the benchmark prices of crude oil of USD 100 against the US$63 creating balance of US$37 were also some of the reasons for the rise.

Agak Achuil Lual, the Minister of Finance and Planning in his remarks to the media after the passing of the budget applauded the parliamentarians for working hard to pass the 2021/2022 financial year budget.

The minister said since the budget has been passed it now gives him time to go ahead with the preparation of the 2022/2023 financial year budget to ensure that it is tabled to parliament and passed on time.

“We have difficulties bringing the budget to the house because the parliamentary committees were not formed in time. Now when we go to budget, the budget was being spent on the basis of Presidential order,” Minister Agak said.

He hinted that every moment that the budget was not passed and time goes and the gov’t spending agencies were getting their funds from 2021/2022 resource envelope through Presidential order.

Changkuoth Bishiock Reth the Chairperson of the Specialized Committee for Finance and Planning at the RTNL said the parliament passed the budget without touching the amount that was allocated to all the spending agencies.

“Today we finalized and passed the Bill; the national budget for the fiscal year 2021/2022 which started from last July until the next June. So the whole parliament passed the budget without touching the amount that was allocated to each spending agencies,” Reth, the Chairperson of the Finance Committee said.

“We found out that there was some other surplus amount that needs to be added to the budget. So the budget is open and we added some few amount of money to the budget so that at least other issues can be accommodated,” Reth added.

He said they increased the budget with SSP 51 billion, from the previous figure of 287 billion pounds to SSP 338 billion.

“Well it is a law that the country has to table the budget but the budget delayed for many other reasons because the parliament was reconstituted few months ago and then now you had also the Committees have to be reconstituted for the parliament so that they take over their work, so the delay of implementation of the parliament because it was not reconstituted on time, this is what made the delay but otherwise we still on time,” Reth said.

Rt. Hon. Speaker Jema Nunu Kumba said they have not been following the yearly calendar very strictly. “So this time we expect the Ministry of Finance and Planning to submit the budget of 2022/2023 on time,” she stressed.

 “As we are working on reforming our country let us try our best to follow the calendar. “So we expect that by May the budget is tabled so that by the end of June we would pass a new budget for you to start on a new page, so that we as a nation we act, we behave like other nations” she said,  

Speaker Nunu obliged that the Assembly is ready to receive the new financial year budget in parliament adding that the delayed reconstitution of the parliament, had delayed the passing of the 2021/2022 budget.  

Comments are closed.