National, News

Parliament passes two financial bills

By Bida Elly David

Parliament in its ordinary sitting on Monday, passed the Bank of South Sudan Act, 2011 amendment 2023, and the Banking Act, 2012 amendment 2023, into law.

Specialized Committee on Finance and Economic Planning at the assembly presented its scrutinized reports on the two bills with necessary observations and recommendations.

Changkuoth Bichiok Reth, chairperson of the Specialized Committee on Finance and Economic Planning, said the two bills aimed to identify key roles of the Central Bank in controlling currency and foreign and domestic commercial banks.

“Section 46 of the Bank of South Sudan on the legal tender has deleted the word South Sudanese pounds throughout the bill and replaced it with South Sudan Pounds,”

Changkuoth said the committee observed an error in naming the national currency, saying that the changes ought to reflect the country, not its people.

On the Monetary Unit, Changkuoth said the act permits the Central Bank the mandate to issue banknotes and coins intended for circulation.

“The act mandates the bank to arrange for the printing of notes and the minting of coins and ensure the safety of the currency,” he noted.

The bill also permits the central bank to arrange for the cancellation and destruction of notes or the cutting, breaking, and destruction of coins withdrawn from market circulation.

Under the administration of the Central Bank, the act has strongly discouraged malpractices and conflicts of interest that involve theft of money, nepotism, or despotism of all kinds.

“No governor or deputy governor, officer, or member of the bank shall accept any gift or credit for himself or on behalf of any person with whom he has a family, business, or financial connection,” it stated.

According to the law, such malpractices will result in diminishing impartial devotion to duties; therefore, dismissal takes part.

On the same note, bank law discourages the exposure or external leakage of banking confidentialities unless otherwise stated.

“No information of the type referred to under the provision may be disclosed without the consent of the person or body duly authorized or delegated by the board unless its disclosure is authorized by the act,” the law cites.

The act further states that there shall be an auditing body to undertake financial reconciliation of all the banking books for reconciliation.

“An internal auditor of the bank shall be appointed for a term of five years by the board from candidates who are professionally qualified accountants and who otherwise meet the criteria that apply to members of the board.”

Mr. Changkuoth underscored that the Central Bank has the primary objective of maintaining monetary and domestic price stability.

He said the bank is also permitted by law to ensure extensive supervision of foreign commercial banks in a bid to strengthen local currency against foreign reserves.

Loans and collateral securities are major elements that the law has permitted the bank to demand from borrowers.

Meanwhile, after thorough deliberation, the lawmakers passed the bill, with a few who demanded amendments to some terms used in the act.

Hon. Charles Majak Aleer, from the Twic constituency of Warrap State, disagreed with the altered term of the currency from South Sudanese pounds to South Sudan pounds.

Charles, in his argument, said the currency is for the people and used by people, noting that its name should remain South Sudanese pounds.

Hon. Peter Lomude, a lawmaker representing Yei River County, criticized the summarized report of the committee, saying that it lacked clarity.

“The report of the committee is good, but their articulated references to the constitution are not clear to the point of being understood by the house. The report has to go back for another scrutiny,” he argued.

Despite his suggestion, the majority praised the committee for the report.

The two bills were passed with some necessary observations and recommendations into their fourth and final stage and referred to the president for his assent into law.

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