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Unity State - 22 Sep 2023

Parliament renews summon to minister of Finance in Unity State

The Unity State Legislative Assembly, in a unanimous decision on Tuesday, reaffirmed its summons of the state's Minister of Finance and Planning, Malual Tap, to provide answers regarding the allocation and utilisation of the 3 percent proceeds from the sale of crude oil designated for the state.

This action was taken after the Finance Minister had failed to appear and respond to queries regarding the 3% oil revenue, which has not been received by the state since 2013. The motion to summon the Minister was initially raised last month, prompting legislators to seek clarity on the matter.

The Chairperson of the Information Committee in the Unity State Legislative Assembly, Stephen Mawich, stated, “The parliament has renewed the summons for the State Finance Minister to appear before the legislators.”

Unity State currently grapples with a challenging financial situation, compelling lawmakers to demand more transparency regarding the oil proceeds. Regrettably, the Finance Minister has consistently disregarded previous summons. Legislators insist on an explanation from the Finance Minister concerning the state's budget.

Mawich emphasised, “The lack of development in the oil-producing state has raised concerns about the allocation of the 3 percent oil share. We are in the dark regarding the destination of these funds. This is a grave issue that requires immediate attention. We must be informed about the state's budget before approving the new 2023/2024 budget.”

“We are granting the Finance Minister, Malual Tap Diu, a seven-day ultimatum, commencing today and concluding next Tuesday. If he fails to comply, we will take action against him, including a vote of no confidence,” Mawich added.

Dr. Riak Koang, a member of Civil Society in Unity State, stressed the importance of parliamentarians uncovering the destination of these funds. He stated, “As the civil society, we are keen to know the current allocation of these funds because our communities have not benefited from the 3 percent oil share intended for development, education, healthcare, and clean water, among other necessities.”

Dr. Riak further pointed out that the lack of development in the state is a direct result of the mismanagement of the 3 percent oil share allocated to Unity State’s seven counties of Mayom, Rubkona, Guit, Koch, Mayiendit, Leer, and Panyijiar.

“I welcome the second summons to the Minister of Finance and Planning to provide insight into the state’s budget since 2013. Currently, no one is aware of the state'’s budget,” Dr. Riak added.

Despite numerous attempts, Unity State’s Finance Minister did not respond to phone calls for comment on this evolving situation.