By William Madouk
National Transitional Committee (NTC) said lack of funding remains a serious challenge hindering the expeditious implementation of the security arrangement.
Stephen Par Kuol, the NTC’s head of the secretariat, disclosed on Thursday, during the 30th plenary of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC), in Juba.
Presenting progress report, Mr. Kuol, who is also the Minister of Peace Building, said the demand for cash withheld by Finance ministry hampered implementation of chapter two of the agreement.
“Lack of funding remains to be a serious issue facing NTC to implement the security arrangement activities,” Kuol said.
He said that the NTC continues to work on securing security mechanism operating cost and release of the approved emergency food items for the graduated unified forces still stranded at training centers.
“Unfortunately, funds have not been released to date, to pave way for the commencement of phase II.” Kuol added.
According to Kuol, the NTC coordinated and facilitated security mechanism meeting on July, 2023 on the unification of lower and middle echelons.
“Thus, the outstanding issues have been referred to the principals to resolve,” he added.
Minister Kuol also urged the two principals to resolve the dispute that emerged in the unification of lower and middle the unified command structure.
In the peace deal, the command of the unified forces should be divided equally with 50 percent to SSPDF and the remaining 50 percent for SPLA-IO, SSOA and other Political Parties.
The Council of Ministers, in May, approved SSP 3.6 billion to facilitate the deployment of the first batch of the necessary unified forces but the money has not been released.
“We submitted a request to the ministry of finance to release the approved amount of SSP 3,671,588,100 to cover the cost of assorted food items for deployment of the graduated unified forces,” Koul noted.
But “The ministry of finance and planning is yet to release that amount requested,” he continued.
The minister however said he still follows up with finance docket to release the funds to transport military uniforms and equipment donated by Türkiye government which are stranded at Mombasa, Kenya.
“The uniforms and other equipment are still in port Mombasa,” he lamented.
He said ex-combatants under DDR and the graduated unified forces are still occupying training centers due to a lack of facilities outside training centers, delaying the enrollment of phase II of forces.
“Expedite the deployment of forces and immediate commencement of phase 2 in the training centers,” he recommended.
Minister Kuol also appealed to peace grantors and friends of South Sudan to help support the NTC to implement transitional security arrangement.
The government of national unity has allocated SSP 50 billion for peace implementation for fiscal year 2023/2024.
The National Transitional Committee (NTC) is a body tasked with overseeing the implementation of the 2018 peace deal.
It works with the peace mechanisms to coordinate activities and also lobby for funds so that the mechanisms implement and execute their objectives.
Chapter Two of the R-ARCSS entails security arrangements, government and opposition forces to canton and train unified forces during a three-year transitional period leading into elections.
Under the 2018 peace deal, South Sudan is to graduate 83,000 unified forces drawn from the various parties to take charge of security of the country during the ongoing transitional period.