OpEd, Politics

A letter to the sleeping Economic Cluster 

It is sad to bring to your attention that the South Sudanese Pounds (SSP); the currency bearing the portrait of the founding father Dr. John Garang de Mabior, has clashed with the United States Dollar (USD) and got injured on the head. This is not the first time it has been wounded, it is wounded every year, but this particular year, the injury demands tears to describe.  Mind you, a relative of someone whose central nervous system is injured either buys a coffin or crutches before time! Therefore, the Economic Cluster headed by Vice President H.E James Wani Igga should buy a coffin or crutches for South Sudanese Pounds (SSP).

What does it require for South Sudan’s economy to get boosted? It requires the qualifications, competence and experiences of those responsible for it! Dr. James Wani Igga is a Ph.D. holder in economics (or another department within economics, I’m not familiar with it) meanwhile the Minister of Finance and Planning Hon. Bak Barnaba Chol is not only a PhD. holder in Economics but a spiritual expert in economics who came to power and began his duties with a national economic conference; something which the relieved ministers had never thought of. It was believed that all that caused trouble to the economy would be put to an end in that conference.

But now, even payment of the salary, using old or new salary structure, is not done yet. Unless money is not in the Central Bank as my intuition could tell me, what is difficult in releasing this money? Or has someone got used to eating it? What qualifications and experiences are missing here when two highly educated economists are in the cluster tasked with revival of the economy?  Could their failure be counted on the truth that they got these qualifications when they already were mature? Or could it be counted on the truth that most members of the cluster had never attended economic classes to physically acquaint themselves with 99 ways of reviving the dead economy?

To my President Salva Kiir Mayardit, does it mean there is no other one to try to restore the economy at all?   What is so hard in regulating the black market to dance according to the tune of the government? If it means closure as a solution, then are powers you have not enough to shut down the black market in its entirety?   And by the way, the failure of the government to control the black market tells the citizens that the black market operates under the ownership of one, two three or so key leaders of South Sudan. Deny this truth and you be thundered!

Just a week after Pope Francis returned to Italy after blessing South Sudanese and the dollar rate rose exponentially. Why were Pope Francis’ blessings widely needed for? They were needed for the improvement of living conditions, and within a week, the living conditions worsened beyond description. How would this be explained?  Dear Dr. James Wani Igga, Hon. Bak Barnaba Chol, Governor of Central Bank plus other leaders under the economic cluster, $100 is currently SSP 102,000 and still counting. What is your immediate action to reduce the dollar rate?   Remember the rise of dollar rate is immediately followed by the skyrocketing of the prices of commodities in the markets. And though the dollar rate reduces later, the prices remain skyrocketing; a challenge waiting for an unborn leader to address later! Imagine.

By now, the prices have already shot up and there you are sleeping under your dollar-made mosquito nets! A widow never affords two sandwiches for her children! A street child never finds a leftover from the rubbish to feed on! An orphan never receives SSP 100 from his/her poor uncle for Mandashi! A student never knows what is called breakfast or lunch, and above all, footing to and fro the university.   A sick person spends the whole day looking left and right for someone to buy him/her drinking water, but unfortunately, no one.

A soldier has only two options; to pick an axe and go to forest to cut down trees for charcoal or pick his gun and shoot down someone he sees carrying something for survival.   I know you and your families are vaccinated against the economic crisis, but for God’s sake, I humbly beg you to work on the suppression of USD so that a meal becomes affordable for the hungered citizens of South Sudan.

   The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

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