National, News

Parliament suspends budget reading

By Bida Elly David

Speaker of the Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) on Wednesday adjourned the sitting on the third reading of 2023–2024 fiscal year budget, to a later date.

The suspension of proceedings was tied to change in the ministry of finance and economic planning, as the new minister has not yet acquainted himself with the new budget.

Speaking to the lawmakers yesterday, the speaker of the national assembly, Jemma Nunu Kumba said the sitting was adjourned due to consultations that are yet to be done.

“The sitting would have continued, but due to some other consultation that is required in regard to this budget stage, we will not be able to proceed with the sitting today,” Nunu ruled.

She said the fiscal budget discussion will either commence today or at a later date.

“A new date for the sitting will be communicated to you accordingly since the third reading will take a lot of time,” she told lawmakers yesterday.

Meanwhile, John Agany, the spokesperson of the national parliament, told journalists after the adjournment of Wednesday’s sitting that the MPs who turned up in a greater Quorum were shocked by the news.

“As to what happened that the sitting had to be adjourned, this is still something that we need to find out because the speaker did not mention why it was adjourned,” Agany told reporters yesterday.

He, however, presumed that there might have been some external factors, such as consultations on the same subject matter that paused the sitting from proceeding.

“Maybe the sitting was adjourned because there were important consultations pertaining to the subject matter of the day,” he said. “We need to wait until we get solid information as to why the discussions on the budget were suspended.”

The assembly spokesperson further said postponement of the budget deliberations was a normal scenario since it couldn’t be discussed while there were obstacles.

He noted that one of the major obstacles is the appointment of a new minister who is not yet acquainted with the new fiscal year document.

“In any budget, including the financial budget in the house, it may not be deliberated if there are obstacles to be dealt with. Maybe the new minister wants to have some sessions to look at the budget and come back,” Agany added.

On whether there is disagreement among the executive, Agany said that the parliament is a different organ within the government that is not mandated to settle grudges.

However, Hon. Changkouth Bichiock, the chairperson of the specialised committee on finance and economic planning at the parliament, said they, as a committee, were not surprised to see that the meeting was pushed.

“It is normal for a sitting to be adjourned. It does not mean that if the sitting is adjourned, the third reading will not take place. The budget is important and will be discussed,” he said.

Bichiock stated that the national budget for this year was presented on time despite the little delays that happened, noting that the process is taking a positive turn.

I was well prepared to do my presentation but was not surprised later with the adjournment because it is a normal parliamentary procedure,” he noted.

Last month, the former minister of finance, Dier Tong Ngor, presented on the floor of parliament a whopping 2.1 trillion South Sudanese pound resource envelope for the fiscal year 2023-2024.




Comments are closed.