JUBA – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit has authorized the payment of at least 2500 United States Dollars to each member of the recently reconstituted transitional national legislature as settlement fees, amid hunger, insecurity and a devastating flood that has displaced hundreds of thousands of the country’s population.
Speaking to Sudans Post this evening, one of the members of the Reconstituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) confirmed the receipt of the presidential offer and said each member of the house was given 1,000,000 South Sudanese Pound which is equivalent to $2500, based on central bank rate.
“We in the Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (R-TNLA) have been paid by the executive 1,000,000 which is equivalent to 2500 US Dollars, each, as our settlement fees because we have started work without anything at hand,” the lawmaker said from Juba on condition of anonymity.
Another member of parliament from the Council of States said they have been paid 800,000 South Sudanese Pounds and said the payment of 1,000,000 to members of the R-TNLA was unfair since they are all members of the country’s bicameral parliament.
“Yes I can confirm that we received the payment, but it is less that the money paid to members of the national assembly. We were given only 800,000 which does nothing these days. So it is unfair,” the Member of Council of states said.
Those entire payments amount to $1,625,000, but it is not the first time for President Kiir to make such a huge offer to the lawmakers.
In July 2018, a month before the signing of the revitalized peace agreement, President Kiir authorized the payment of $40,000 to lawmakers to spend on cars and housing as war was then still ongoing.
The government defended the offer with Kiir’s press secretary Ateny Wek Ateny telling the BBC’s NewsDay that “This money has been given to the parliamentarians to buy cars, because they currently use motorbikes,” Ateny said.
This latest offer comes at a critical time for the country. Much of the world’s youngest nation is covered by water, insecurity and hunger, according to the United Nations estimates.
The government has on several occasions yet been appealing to international donors for help to mitigate the hunger and floods.