National, News

Kiir calls for economic diversity to avert crisis

By William Madouk


President Salva Kiir Mayardit has called for a diversified economy to avert the biting economic crisis across the country.

In his speech during the inauguration of the National Legislative Assembly, Mr. Kiir said current economic woes are due to the country’s overdependence on oil proceeds, adding that there is a need for an agricultural revolution.

“We need to diversify our revenue sources and increase local agricultural productivity to reduce reliance on imported food, which drains our foreign exchange reserve,” said Kiir.

“Our dependence on oil exports has had a negative effect on the value of the South Sudanese Pound (SSP), resulting in a sharp appreciation of the dollar against the SSP,” he added.

He highlighted that there is a need to review and invigorate the national agriculture schemes.

“There is a need to review and open all the former agriculture schemes across the country,” he noted.

According to the head of state, the country’s economy is constrained by numerous factors, including sharp inflation that hikes commodity prices in markets.

“Our economy has been constrained by a number of factors, and the first among these is inflation, which has left high prices in the market,” Kiir remarked.

“The backlog of unpaid salaries and the unwillingness of commercial banks to lend local businesses money for agriculture and the import of essential commodities have made the situation of our citizens and organized forces very difficult,” Kiir continued.

While admitting economic hardship, the president added that the economic crisis is now a global phenomenon, and South Sudan is no exception.

President Kiir assured that the supply of fuel and essential food commodities would remain uninterrupted.

“Food security is a real problem facing every citizen in the country,” he lamented.

However, he recalled the government’s mission in importing food commodities to be sold at affordable or subsidized prices for common citizens.

“Nevertheless, the government, through the ministry of agriculture and food security, has a mega plan to boost and increase agriculture productivity this year across the country,” he noted.

President Kiir also called on citizens to embark on farming and combat food insecurity.

“I urge every citizen in the country to invest in food production since South Sudan is blessed with enough rainfall and fertile land for agriculture,” he appealed.

Furthermore, the head of state called on partners to support small-scale farmers countrywide.

In a bid to address civil servants’ plight, the president cited that the government had hiked salaries by 400 percent.

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