By Joseph Ring Lang
Either I ring the bell or let us ring the bell for moral rearmament to all: the SPLMs (SPLM in the Government, SPLM for Democratic Change, SPLM in Opposition, SPLM Former Detainees; the SSOA (South Sudan Opposition Alliance); and the OPP (Other Political Parties) of South Sudan that had signed the revitalized Agreement of 2018.
By virtue of your being there at the top of the steering wheel of our Nation, it is your responsibility to navigate our sailing ship from decades of economic decline to economic prosperity that makes our Nation to be classified as extremely underdeveloped.
The proof of the decline is that the market takes the US$ Dollar as the standard of measurement of value and not the South Sudanese Pound – a continuous development that is disheartening.
Worse still, our Central Bank which is known as the Bank of South Sudan(BOSS) auctions the US$ Dollar periodically for exchange the South Sudanese Pound to the highest bidder – a bizarre economic, activity development as if the US$ Dollar was a commodity like cereal, sugar or salt (just to mention a few) while knowing that the US$ Dollar is a measurement of value like the South Sudanese Pound and other international currencies.
In that respect, the auction policy of the Central Bank of South Sudan gives the businessperson that receives the US$ Dollar a free hand, prerogative to do whatever he or she feels it can do with that US$ Dollar hard currency. He or she could either keep it outside the Country or bring to South Sudan goods of their choice and sells them at the price they choose.
It is worth mentioning here that even when the US$ Dollar drops in the marketplace, the prices of those commodities and especially the food prices keep on rising. The conclusion that can be drawn from that: it is the black marketers that regulate the market; it is not the Government regulators that regulate the market – a peculiarity of South Sudan alone.
In light of all that: you the political signatories of the 2018 Revitalized Agreement; must sit down again; to re-examine all the past policies that are the causes of our current economic distress for the love of your people.
The revisit: be it at the level of the Central Bank (Bank of South Sudan) as mentioned above; or be it at the level of all the Government Departments and preferably both; must prioritize the redesigning of new policies that will eventually make our economy grow upwards.
Economic growth is very essential now, more than ever before for multiple reasons. The influx of South Sudanese that have already come back from Sudan Civil War and are still arriving needs both short-term and long-term solutions. Short-term solution wants emergency relief in both food and non-food items. Whereas the long-term solution requires economic growth for long-term sustainability.
In refusing to propose a new line of action, we will likely one day be rudely awoken by an announcement by the Captain of our sailing ship which is called South Sudan saying: ‘All hands on board’; ‘I repeat all hands on board’; ‘I repeat again all hands on board’; “CAPTAIN SPEAKS”; ‘the ship is sinking’; ‘each man for himself and God for us all’.