South Sudan’s Ministry of Finance on Friday reassured worried citizens that rising prices of everyday items, including edibles, would soon be brought under control.
Speaking to reporters after meeting President Salva Kiir, the national minister of finance, Dier Tong Ngor, said they will inject enough hard currency into the market to meet the high demands for the US dollar.
“We have discussed the depreciating exchange rate of our South Sudan Pound. We have reached a concrete solution of central bank availing sufficient dollars into the market so that we can meet the needs of the market, the needs of the people who are looking for the foreign currency,” Dier said.
“We can assure the market that immediately, the central bank will be able to intervene in the market so that we respond to the higher demand of the US dollar,” he added.
Meanwhile, the governor of the central bank, Johnny Ohisa Damian, said the institution will be strategically involved in order to reduce the prices of commodities in the market.
“We have enough reserves that the ministry of finance has availed to us. The central bank will be financing the importation of essential commodities. So there is no fear, we have enough reserves, and we are working with the Ministry of Finance to ensure that resources are available,” he said.
For his part, Lt. Gen. James Mugira, head of a Ugandan delegation to Juba, said they have agreed with the South Sudan government to supply essential food immediately.
“We will be supplying food to the South Sudan government. We have discussed all the modalities and we are going to deal with the issue of the commodities that are required,” James said.
The financial institutions have recently come under fire as South Sudanese face inflation and the collapse of their currency – the South Sudanese Pound- in an economic hardship worsened by the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Sudan.
The cost of most basic goods has doubled in the past few months in South Sudan, but incomes have not risen. On Friday, prices around Juba stood at about SSP 1005 for USD 1.
On Thursday, the South Sudan Employers’ Federation called for the sacking of the country’s finance minister, after a group of local traders threatened to close their businesses to protest against the weakening of the country’s currency, the pound.