The approval of South Sudan’s 2023-2024 national budget has come to a halt after opposition MPs walked out of the session in the capital, Juba, over a proposed salary increase for civil servants on Friday.
The country is in its second month of the new financial year without an approved national budget as cabinet and the parliament disagree on the nature of the budget.
MPs from the main opposition political party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) of First Vice President, Riek Machar, want a 600% salary increment for civil servants in order to meet the high cost of living.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Bak Barnaba Chol, insisted that the MPs should pass the budget with a proposed 400% increment.
This rift led to the walking out of the opposition MPs.
A prominent civil society group, the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), says it was disheartened and disturbed by the failure of the MPs to pass the budget during the third reading.
Edmund Yakani, Executive Director of CEPO, says failure to pass the national budget will have negative implications on the “political transition process” the country is undergoing.
South Sudan is planning to hold elections in December 2024. The polls will be the first in the world’s newest country, which seceded from Sudan 12 years ago.