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LAINYA - 3 Mar 2019

Bishop urges government to use oil cash to fund peace

Photo: Bishop Elioba Laku Obed
Photo: Bishop Elioba Laku Obed

South Sudan’s government should use oil money and locally generated revenues for implementing the peace deal, the Episcopal Church Bishop of Lainya County said.

Bishop Elioba Laku Obed told Radio Tamazuj on Thursday that government can collect large sums of money from various sources.

“Let the government be very sincere and serious in putting things right. We have a lot of sources of getting money from forests, the customs and oil where they say thousands of barrels are being produced every day [but] where is this money going?” he asked.

The South Sudanese government said it approved more than $280 million (about SSP 44 billion), as its peace implementation budget.

The Bishop opposed government’s proposal to deduct civil servants’ salaries, saying most of them have not been paid for several months.

“How much does a government employee receive? And sometimes people go for more than four months without getting their pay and how can you tax somebody who doesn’t even have?” he asked.

Laku urged the central government to end the ongoing civil war, promote good governance and financial transparency for the population and the international community to trust it.

“We don’t need to continue fighting. Even donors who want to help don’t want to hear of war in the country. We need to dialogue, embrace peace and transparency in whatever we do,” he said.

In September last year, South Sudanese arch-foes signed a revitalized peace agreement, aimed at ending the devastating civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.

However, after signing of the peace accord, the international community appealed to South Sudan government to make financial commitments towards the implementation process before they chip in.

South Sudan parties are now facing a time crunch and funds, as the deal provides for a new government to assume power in May 2019.