Salary increments unforeseeable this current budget

National Minister of Finance and Planning, Dier Tong Ngor –Courtesy photo

By Akol Madut Ngong

The National Minister of Finance and Planning, Dier Tong Ngor said increment of civil servants’ salaries in the current budget to meet the current market forces is not foreseeable unless if more South Sudanese Pounds are to be printed.

Minister Tong however quickly interjected to the strategy warning that printing more SSP will definitely pose further implications on the country’s economy.

He made the statement during a budget committee cluster meeting with the Parliamentary standing specialized Committee for Finance and Economic Planning at the national assembly while scrutinizing the 2022/23 fiscal budget putting into consideration the need to improve civil servants’ salaries.

“We need more SSP printed for salary increment but definitely it will affect foreign exchange rate and that exchange rate could have direct implication to the prices of the market in the Country,” he cautioned.

Tong urged the legislators to commit to the budget recommendations that were passed to the parliament by the Council of Ministers saying it was important for them to observe it like that.

“This is important because as Ministry of Finance, we cannot come and change or amend the resolution, what was passed or made by the Council of Ministers even if the money was there, I cannot come and recommend something different,” he noted.

The Minister stated that they have a deposit of 56%, of the budget and they are spending more than half of what they don’t have before.

“The adjustment of salaries to the crude oil cargo of 1.1 trillion per annum but remember that resource envelop is 833 billion but salaries alone is 1 trillion this is about 132% of what we have for salaries alone,” he said.

Tong told the MPs that he acknowledged that the current civil servants salaries are not reasonable enough to battle with the current market forces.

“Hon members, we know the current pay to civil servants cannot meet even the standard of living, we accept that, it’s the truth and therefore the adjustment of salaries should not be a point of the sector, it is obvious but it has to be done within the resources we have because there is no any other way,” he stated.

“If we don’t do that, we will be raising the expectation of our people, we will tell them that we will increase your salaries to 1.1 trillion, we will be able to deliver, this small we give to our employees, they are not getting it, we are behind with arrears with the public services,” Tong underlined.

“We still have three months and therefore when the Council of Ministers discussed and passed this last time, the budget was passed with small increment and that is a reality because in finance if you are not chosen the whole macro-economic framework will collapse because the only way we can increase salaries now would be for us to print more SSP.”

“I’m requesting that the current budget be passed as it is and as Minister of Finance, I want to commit myself that in the second quarter of this budget, I will table the supplementary budget suggesting the increase of salaries and in that, I will have time to review all the budget line, already we have budget line like future generation budget line and so forth,” Tong underscored.

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