Minister urges gov’t to recruit budget planning officers

Wani Tom Sebit, the State Minister Finance, Planning and Investment addressing journalists shortly after the passing of the State fiscal budget for 2021/2022 on Wednesday (Photo: Philip Buda Ladu)

By Philip Buda Ladu

The Central Equatoria State Transitional Legislative Assembly (STLA) has urged the State government to recruit and deploy planning and budget officers in the various State government institutions that will ease planning and budget drafting.

The recruitment of the planning and budget officers comes as one of the key recommendations provided by the Budget Scrutiny Committee that discovered a lot of loopholes in the first draft of the State Fiscal budget of Central Equatoria State Revitalized Government’s budget tabled to the State Assembly by the Minister.

The parliamentary Budget Select Committee recommended that the State government should ensure planning and budget officers are appointed and deployed to various institutions of the State government.

The Minister of Finance, Planning and Investment Wani Tom Sebit on 14th March 2022, presented the FY 2021/2022 budget for Central Equatoria State government which was referred to the Standing Specialized Committee of Economy, Finance and Investment and that of Service and Members Affairs for scrutiny and to render a report within 21 days.

Members of the State assembly in their ordinary sitting No.10/2022 on Wednesday deliberated on the 2021/2022 annual budget in its second reading on the presentation of the budget scrutiny committee and the August House eventually passed it with all amendment after a thorough deliberation that started from 10:00 am and lasted up to evening hours.

James Modi Lomindi, the Chairperson of the Assembly Specialized Committee for Information who is also the spokesperson of the State Assembly in his press briefing affirmed the assembly had finally approved the budget which has a lot of loopholes.

The committee observed that revenues projections by other revenue generating units are not reflected in the budget, it also noted the FY 2021/2022 budget has no accountability for FY 2020/2021 revenues (National grants, State owned revenues and expenditures).

The budget scrutiny committee also discovered that State Revenue generating institutions are reluctant to collect and remit revenues to the State Revenue Authority on grounds that they are not being given motivations by ministry of Finance upon remittances.

Jacob Aligo Lo-Lado, one of the lawmakers at the State Assembly and a former Minister in the Defunct Yei River State testified that he experienced the difficulties of having no competent planning and budget officers during his tenure in office as a minister.

“Indeed, I experienced being a minister, and we have a big problem with our technocrats when it comes to planning activities of the institution, if the minister is not intelligent then you are done. This one is the truth, if you don’t see as a minister then you are done,” Aligo testified.

He acknowledged that there is a serious need for training or employing planners to be deployed in the various states institutions to help these institutions up because the civil service is the dynamo of progress and development in a given entity like a State or a nation.

“If we don’t have planners our development will be static, so this is a very important item that needs to be taken very seriously” Hon. Jacob Emphasized.

Meanwhile, Wani Tom Sebit the State Minister of Finance, Planning and Investment promised to implement the recommendation of the Budget Scrutiny Committee on the recruitment and deployment of planers and budget officers to the State Institutions.

“Yes of course as a concern, without any planner in an institution it is a challenge. As a recommendation, normally a recommendation by the parliament is to be implemented, so that recommendation itself is going to be implemented by my Ministry,” Wani Tom the Minister of Finance affirmed his commitment to implement the recommendation passed.

“Indeed, we are aware that some of the planners may not be professional in the lines, we look at this and look at from the Ministry of Finance itself to deploy competent planners in each institution so that the next budget comes without any much oversight” Tom affirmed.

The Finance Minister said it is within the implementation of the budget, that those recommendations which have been passed by the August House are prone for implementation by the executive.

Minister Tom said they have accepted to implement adding that as it is a spirit that has already been agreed it will be implemented.

“The scrutiny committee of the parliament did a good job of looking at the gaps of the budget, and in the gaps of the budget was that the projections which were made by the State Revenue institutions were not made up to date, and of which they called the technocrats from the various committees and discussed with them about why and how the budget particularly the revenues State owned resources were to that tune, so they explained until it was found out that some of the institutions couldn’t project correctly and they couldn’t release some immediate projections in the Revenue authority,” Tom elaborated.

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