National, News

Youth, women ‘forgotten’ in new budget- Legislator

By Bida Elly David

A lawmaker at the Transitional National Legislative Assembly has criticized the 2023/2024 fiscal year budget for not catering for youth and women’s local enterprises.

On Tuesday, the minister of finance and economic planning, Dier Tong Ngor, tabled a whopping 2 trillion fiscal year budget for the years 2023–2024.

However, one lawmaker was quick to criticize the new budget even before the finance committee’s scrutiny.

Chapter through of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan calls for the establishment of the “Youth Enterprise Development Fund”.

It also calls for the establishment of a “Women Enterprise Development Fund” (WEDF) for the provision of subsidized credit for women-based enterprise development and capacity building.”

But Hon. Paul Baba a deputy chair for the committee of trade and industries said that excommunicating youth and local traders in the budget is a technical fault that dictates their rights.

According to Baba, the presented budget did not include his analysis.

“We expected appreciation to come from the government for small and medium enterprises,” he said after the presentation of the budget.

The lawmaker noted that the non-oil revenue sector in the budget supports the government throughout the year.

MP Baba said that allocating financial grants and loans to young people would increase their involvement in businesses, thus promoting economic development across the country.

Hon. Baba added that supporting businesspeople through grants in the budget would mitigate criminal activities such as pilferage and robbery as well as inflation for systematic progress.

He further stated that the fiscal budget did not include serious economic planning to shift the Country from a state of the economic recess into one of economic growth.

“I have not seen any economic planning in this budget that can give hope for the youth and women suffering under the sun every day by selling retail to support their children,” he noted.

The lawmaker stressed that the budget presented to him does not reflect any sense of transforming the Country into a sustainable economy.

Baba echoed that the budget focused much on oil revenues as the main commodity for generating revenues, leaving the other sector.

He also underscored that the same budget has not talked about mitigating unemployment in the Country.

“We don’t see any difference in the budget. We expected a change from the oil dependency to other sectors, which give more employment opportunities to the youth and other communities,” he reiterated.

Baba pointed out that the establishment of factories, industries, and schemes are some of the key elements that the budget has failed to define.

However, Baba emphasized that the focus on the financial spending budget will only help civil servants, not ordinary citizens who depend on petty enterprises.

“The financial spending will only benefit those working for the government and other citizens whose relatives are civil servants. But I don’t see anything being channeled to the common person,” he said.

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