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Eminent protest as University lecturers demand 7 months’ pay

By Yang Ater Yang

 

Lecturers at the Rumbek University of Science and Technology (RUST) are demanding immediate payment of seven months’ worth of salary arrears and outstanding allowances for the 2023-2024 academic year.

This came after the general assembly of the Rumbek University of Science and Technology academic association convened an extraordinary meeting on June 7th, 2024, to deliberate on the matter regarding seven months’ salary arrears from November 2023 to May 2024.

Discussions also include one month’s difference in arrears from June 2023 and ticket allowances from 2019 to 2024.

Kot Manyuon Thuc, the Acting Chairperson of the Rumbek University of Science and Technology Academic Staff Association (RUSTASA), explained that the academic staff assembly is now calling for immediate payment of all seven months’ salary arrears, the one month’s difference in arrears, and all outstanding ticket allowances.

“If the national Ministry of Finance and Planning fails to address this critical issue of “live to work and work to live,” the RUST academic staff association will be forced to take industrial action,” partly read the resolution.

“We want the government to provide a positive response to all of our needs,” Thuc stressed.

The unpaid salaries and allowances have placed a significant financial burden on the lecturers, threatening their ability to make ends meet.

The university’s academic staff is now calling on the government to prioritize their demands and ensure the timely payment of all outstanding dues.

Last month, National Minister of Finance sounded alarm of “no hope” to pay salaries due to poor revenue generation from oil and non-oil sectors.

Engineer Awow Daniel Chuang, stated that delays in salaries are caused by the crisis in Sudan, which impacted oil production and transportation to the international market.

The minister didn’t specify when and how salaries for civil servants and the army would be released, but he only said there was no money.

“South Sudan’s revenue authority has limited capacity; they collect revenues only from Nimule and Juba; there is nothing from the states,” he said.

He noted problem with collecting taxes from the states as the revenue authority was unable to execute it due to the laws.

“If we assume that we collect around 25 or 35 billion SSP in only Nimule and Juba, it is a big challenge for us to have salaries; we should also depend on NRA,” he stressed.

The financial minister stated that the salary allocation is around SSP 85 billion, exceeding what is collected from customs duties.

“What we are collecting is around 25 or 30 billion; for you to accumulate this, you need at least three or four months to get a one-month salary. If you make NRA function in other states, the collection will be doubled to cover salaries,” he emphasized.

Awow noted that the only source of income was the non-oil revenues being collected by the South Sudan Revenue Authority. A

“What we are doing right now is to stabilize the market; it has gone very high with the prices of food commodities and the exchange rate, and whatever little we get out of these, it will be used for paying salaries,” he stated.

He admitted that they are now faced with a lot of challenges in the Ministry of Finance because of the oil export disruption.

South Sudan initially used to produce oil in different fields, with 70% coming from the Upper Nile and the rest from the Ruweng administrative area and Unity State.

“The production is only from Blocks 12, 14, and 58, which means there is only around 30% to 35% of the oil that is flowing,” Awow decried.

“With the new challenges in Sudan, we have been struggling for the last two weeks to put things together.”

The minister further said that apart from the funding salaries, South Sudan still struggles to pay Sudan with accumulated arrears as production shares.

 

 

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