South Sudan MPs Grill Three Ministers Over Hunger Situation

The Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) members on Tuesday grilled three ministers over the current and looming hunger in the country.

Parliament summoned ministers Awow Daniel Chuang of Finance and Planning, William Anyuon Kuol of Trade and Industry, and Josephine Lagu Yanga of Agriculture to explain the measures to address the situation.  

The ministers were summoned last month, when the Mayom County, Unity State MP Stephen Bol tabled a motion detailing the worsening food insecurity in his constituency and across the country.

Speaking after session, the Parliamentary Committee for Information and Communication chairperson and the assembly spokesman, Oliver Mori Benjamin, said an ordinary sitting listened to three presentations regarding the looming hunger.

“We listened to three ministers who were summoned to answer queries regarding the looming hunger in the Republic of South Sudan. The Minister of Finance, the Minister of Trade and the Minister of Agriculture turned up and they gave elaborate answers to the questions raised by the honorable members. But I think what is most interesting today is the Minister of Finance’s announcement that within the coming few days, salaries will be released to government employees,” said Mori.

The ministers gave details on the widespread hunger, which has been exacerbated by the ongoing economic crisis.

Yanga attributed the food insecurity to the low agricultural production and the continued underfunding of the sector.

“Since 2020, when the Revitalized Transitional Government of Unity was established, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has been, on an annual basis, submitting its budget to the Ministry of Finance and Planning. From our record, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has received zero funding for its capital expenditure for over four years,” she said.

Kuol said his ministry had supplied the market with the essential commodities at subsided prices.

“When we bring our food, we see the prices, and I said earlier in my presentation, we charge food at 50% of the current prices,” he said. 

Chuang disclosed that they were going to pay the salaries of the civil servants and members of organized forces in the next few days.

“But as we speak, we are going for another intervention, I can tell you. Because the moment we do this, we actually achieve two things. When we get some little money, we put it into the market, and then it comes back in SSP. This SSP will accumulate, and we use it for payment of the salaries. And I can tell you that within the next few days, we are going to have a salary to be paid,” he said.

Chol Mawel