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JUBA - 17 Sep 2020

Economic analyst urges govt to invite experts to save the economy

File photo: Prof. Akim Ajieth Buny
File photo: Prof. Akim Ajieth Buny

A South Sudanese economic analyst has suggested to the government to call people with proven expertise and capabilities in economics to help save the country’s economy from collapsing.

The South Sudanese pound is depreciating rapidly, amid soaring prices of commodities in the market. Inflation was 37.2% in April, according to the last data released by the central bank.

South Sudan's economy, which relies almost exclusively on oil revenues, has been battered by a drop in global crude prices.

Prof. Akim Ajieth Buny, an economic analyst, cautioned that driving everything from government offices, with the same officials, may not be of much help.

"We feel that the government hasn’t done enough in terms of economic policies. There haven’t been good economic policies in place because economists and administrators have been overlooked in the decision-making process," Akim told Radio Tamazuj on Wednesday.

"The solution for the current economic crisis is to engage economists and public administrators to come up with good policies on how the economic crisis can be addressed. There is a need for a national council or a national economic advisory council to develop policies for the government," he added.

The economic analyst blamed the government for economic troubles, saying it has been ignoring recommendations from experts on how to deal with the country’s economic crisis.

  "The rise in the US dollar is a disaster as it has led to an increase in the prices of commodities in the market. So the government needs to take bold action now," Ajieth said.

"If we want this country to move forward, we have to fix our economy by bringing the right people in the government. If we don’t do this, citizens will start hating the government gradually, and it could ignite a popular uprising," he warned.

Commodity prices

Prices of essential commodities across the country have been rising as the South Sudanese pound continues to decline against foreign currencies, particularly the US dollar.

Citizens complained about the hike in the prices of necessary commodities.

"The prices of commodities have increased dramatically in the market. For example, half a kilo of beef now is 1,200 SSP, which was 1,000 SSP before. The price of goat meat is 2,000 SSP, while half a kilo of maize flour has shot up from 300 SSP to 600 SSP," Suzan Ayen, a buyer in Juba, told Radio Tamazuj.

Omer Abubaker, a foreign currency dealer in Juba, said the currency has plunged to more than 500 pounds to the US dollar on the parallel market.

 “The US dollar is scarce in the market. We need the government to look into the issue of the US dollar and find a solution to the problem.  The ordinary citizens are complaining a lot because foodstuffs are very expensive," he said.