National, News

PIERCING: High prices at assembly restaurant irks MPs

By William Madouk


Former spokesperson of the National Parliament, John Agany, has expressed concerns over the high food prices at the restaurant located inside the Assembly building.

During a parliamentary session yesterday, Agany stood up to raise a point of information, first appreciating Speaker Nunu Kumba for installing a well-equipped restaurant for the members of parliament to serve and eat food.

“We are blessed to have this beautiful place, which everybody in South Sudan has admired and sees that the standard of MPs has already improved,” Agany praised.

However, the MP quickly questioned whether the workers at the restaurant were contracted and where the revenue from the restaurant was being directed.

“My point is, people who are cooking in that restaurant are they contracted? and if they are contracted who benefits from that money? is it an assembly or the person who contracts them take the money?” he quizzed.

“Because the whole structure is done with the money of the assembly or the money of the government,” he added.

Agany recalled the Speaker’s remark during the inauguration of the restaurant saying, “food would be sold at subsided prices.” However, according to lawmakers that is not the case now as MPs dig deep into their pockets.

“Now, the prices that we are here having – it starts from SSP 10,000 to SSP 12,000 and if have two to three people – you are paying SSP 50,000 unless you refuse those that you need to eat alone,” he protested.

“Now, who owns this [restaurant] and why the prices are not regulated, I stand here, and I know you will definitely talk to the administration,” Agany echoed.

Reacting to the matter, speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba said the restaurant is given to private sector to manage and sell food at lower prices in exchange for space, and electricity the parliament provide.

“So, [the restaurant] it is given out to private sector to run the restaurant with their own money, so the revenue does not come to the parliament,” Nunu stated.

“What we are giving is the building, electricity and sometimes when there is no water, they bring their own water that is what I know. Yes, I know they are using our building and yes, the price is subsided,” she added.

Speaker noted that even staff from neighbouring government institutions do eat from the assembly’s restaurant because of its low price.

However, she promised to investigate the matter and find out whether the food prices are similar to common market prices.

“We are aware that the prices of things have gone higher in the markets perhaps that is why there may be changes.”

“But those changes may be relatively lower than the restaurants in the market, but we will do some research to find out and discuss with the company,” she added.

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