National, News

Parliament adopts benchmark report on reforms

By Philip Buda Ladu


Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) has adopted and passed a report of the committee of finance that sent a delegation for a benchmarking study tour to the parliaments of Kenya and Rwanda.

Since independence, South Sudan has been facing multiple challenges due to weak institutions.

As part of enhancing legislative oversight capacity, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the government signed a tripartite agreement to implement the Institutional Support Project for Strengthening Economic Governance in South Sudan (STEG-SS).

The project focuses on providing support and strengthening the capacity of many institutions, including data and statistical systems, parliamentary oversight, and the institutionalization of public investment programs.

Changkuoth Bichiock Reth, the Chairperson of the Finance Committee, then requested the AfDB and UNDP facilitate a delegation to undertake a benchmarking study tour in Kenya and Rwanda.

The delegation was tasked with exploring how the specialized committees on finance and economic planning or the parliaments of the two countries improve the preparation of the national budget and oversee public financial management (PFM) and the associated implementation processes.

Hon. Goc Makuc read out the report of the committee for finance on the benchmarking study tour to the parliaments of Kenya and Rwanda on behalf of the head of delegation, Hon. James Reat Gony.

In the report, the delegation, during their benchmarking tour, listed 22 key findings. Top on the chart was the “political will” of the country’s leadership to enact relevant laws and enforce them.

The committee report also outlined 17 recommendations. Top on the list is the need for South Sudan to consider a bottom-up approach in the budget process to identify the beneficiaries’ needs and priorities.

However, implementing some of the key recommendations might be challenging as they require amendments to the national constitution and parliament’s conduct of business regulations.

“In accordance with Regulation 39 Sub-regulation (2) of the TNLA Conduct of Business Regulations 2011 (amended 2021), I humbly submit this Report to the august House and urge the Hon. Members to deliberate and adopt this Report of the benchmarking study tour to Parliaments of Kenya and Rwanda,” Makuc submitted to the house.

After thorough deliberation of the committee report by MPs, the august house speaker, Jemma Nunu Kumba, ruled with the total agreement of the house to adopt and pass the report with all the recommendations, observations and amendments.

Speaker Nunu described the report and benchmarking exercise as very important.

The findings are what they (committee members) have seen in those countries according to their constitution and other rules or procedures of parliament.

“We are in the learning process as a new country, a new parliament. We do this (benchmarking) to see how other countries’ institutions are working and also to see what we can take from there in order to improve our system and performance as a parliament so that we are also lifted to that standard in the region,” Nunu explained.

She clarified to the MPs after her ruling that some of the issues they have talked about are constitutional, and even adopting them doesn’t mean that they will immediately implement them.

“Some of them (recommendations) require that the constitution be amended, especially the mandate of the Council of States, and the national parliament is in the constitution, and so for us to implement it, it will require the initiation of an amendment to the constitution” she stated.

Oliver Mori Benjamin, the spokesperson of parliament, told the media after the sitting that this report was appreciated by the MPs because they were able to learn new things about what is being practiced in the two parliaments of Kenya and Rwanda.

Mori noted that as an independent country, South Sudan has its own constitution and parliament conduct of business, which is guiding them, adding that the new inputs brought from those two countries that necessitate the MPs to adopt them will be assessed.

“It is not that what is workable in Rwanda or Kenya will automatically be applied in our parliament or in our country, but those positive aspects will be looked into, and if need arises, we may amend our constitution or amend our conduct of business to enable us to incorporate those issues that we think are good for the Republic of South Sudan,” he added.


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