Ministers & governors discuss the new South Sudan Development Plan
JUBA - During the Governor’s Forum held at the South Sudan Legislative Assembly 14th – 17th November, the ten state Governors, together with their State Ministers of Finance, Speakers of the State Legislature, members of the National Legislature, and key national Ministers under the leadership of the Vice President H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, discussed the next steps for the South Sudan Development Plan (SSDP). The Governors’ Forum is organized by the Office of the President with support from UNDP.
The Plan, which was approved in September by the Council of Ministers, outlines the Government’s major priorities for the period from Independence to the end of 2013 in the areas of governance, economic growth, social and human development, as well as conflict prevention and security. Minister Ngai also underscored that the Plan incorporated an agreed structure on management of these resources and prioritized Government expenditures.
Following decades of conflict, South Sudan is one of the most undeveloped countries in the world, suffering from low levels of literacy, communal conflict, poor health conditions, high food insecurity and an inexperienced workforce. Until now development efforts by the Government and the international community have not been adequately coordinated.
Minister Ngai explained that some of the key challenges to implementing the Plan included fluctuating oil revenues, and the lack of capacity within departments to formulate pro-poor plans and undertake monitoring and evaluation. However, he highlighted the work that is currently being done to address these challenges including detailing development project budgets, capacity building, and strengthening of monitoring and evaluation practices.
The Minister presented the Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Task Force’s recommendations to address the challenges to implementation of the Development Plan, which included improving administration of tax collection, distributing funds to the states on a per capita basis, and working to diversify the revenue stream. Discussion following these recommendations proved to be positive with the Former Undersecretary of Finance & Economic Planning, now Presidential Economic Advisor Aggrey Tisa stating “There has never been a pre-determined level of how much funding the state should have.”
The session concluded with Dr. Marial Awou Yol, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning explaining the options for financing the South Sudan Development Plan. While he presented a number of options, the Deputy Minister stressed the Government must review its current public expenditure structure to create fiscal space for investments in infrastructure and absorb the costs of implementing the Development Plan as the current trend of spending is not sustainable.
UNDP is working with the Government of South Sudan to strengthen capacities, particularly in the areas of financial management, public administration, and budgeting.
Communications and Policy Specialist
UNDP South Sudan
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