By Zechariah Makuach Maror
OPINION – One may start by saying, God is the only one who understands what’s happening in the ministry of finance and planning since Stephen Dhieu Dau handover the keys of that institution to Gogrial economists. The tragedy of the ministry of finance and planning in President Kiir’s government began with one small community called Kuac Ayok in Gogrial of Warrap State, and I guess it is going to end there. That community has produced some infamous public burglars for the South Sudan canard arena; if we say, Unity State has produced a good number of Warlords in South Sudan; one can also add that this small community has also contributed a good number of corrupt-lords to the country. Needn’t say the game is a draw between Unity State and Warrap State.
The worst comes and goes but the ministry of finance founded by Agak Achuil Lual is the worst cartoon ever watched on public TV screens; it appears like that institution was created for the welfare and glory of the Papol tiny clan, specifically, Pan Achuil Lual Manok, or paan Akuac Toc, from which minister descended, plus family associates. The minister’s recent initiative which seems to be Papol paan Achuil Lual’s empowerment programs appears to have contributed to the increased demand for automobiles (premio) among the young members of that clan and associates, even receipt books in the automobile purchasing Centres in Juba can attest to this.
NEPOTISM AS MEANS OF FAMILY AND RELATIVES’ ENRICHMENT
The minister seems to have introduced a family-relatives rescue program in the ministry of finance and planning that seems to work automatically if your cheque’s names bear Lual, Achuil, Agak, Akook, Akol, Mabior, Atek, Wath and others; money can just be approved without any reason as part of the pseudo program—which aims to give their sub-clan the same power as opulent Pajiek of Paan Wol Kuajok and Paan Jongkoor in Kuac North. The first phase of that program recently came to an end with only a few paan Achuil Lual who are in Juba, and the second phase has just begun with a focus on the town-less descendants still living in the village. The clan peasants who are paan Achuil Lual are flocking to Juba as a result of this project. They just came to Juba; enter Boutique to change their kraal attires with modern dresses before heading to the ministry the next days for SSRRA of modern day.
From the beginning, the minister and his septuagenarian brother—who is also a member of Reconstituted Transitional National Parliament, representing Marobo county of Central Equatoria State—were assumed to have turned the ministry of finance into a family business. It was first claimed that anyone who wanted to work as Agak’s aides, in a lieu of an office manager; chief protocol officer; or private secretary, had to be impalpably interviewed by the minister’s elder brother before being hired. This was demonstrated by the case of a certain young guy, who happened to be far Papol and wanted to work with a minister as one of the aides, but was rejected in a humiliating manner, “You will not work with my brother”. He was advised by the minister’s brother to hold off until his close family mate served as the minister to smell the things in the government. It is believed that whoever wants something must first go through a member of the minister’s family to obtain it since the ministry of finance and planning has turned into a family corporate. (N/B; There is a dangerous deal going on now between a certain Arab merchant from Saudi Arabia and the minister’s spouse, this deal is believed to be dangerous, and it will obliterate the economy of South Sudan. I will bring the details after getting the consent of the source).
It has long been known that the same minister’s brother makes deals in the ministry through the director of the account, which was fired a few months ago but was later reinstated as a result of the minister’s brother’s influence. The person enjoyed his second chance before Kuac’s son took his place in the tribally motivated rotation of last week. The recent illegal personnel rotation in the ministry of finance and planning which should have been done by the Ministry of Labour and public services aims to give strategic posts to Agak’s supporters; just in the past month, apart from the minister’s official aides, the ministry of finance and planning had employed more than three sons hailed from the minister community, these new employees are typical Agak Achuil buffs on social media.
SEGREGATION BASED REVENGE
The situation in the ministry of finance and planning proves that, even if you have been in this world for a long time, there are situations that still surprise you.The awful part is that the ministry of finance and planning has been transformed into a scheme of retaliation and revenge for the long-standing grudges in Kuac Community. Pan Achuil Lual in the ministry has written down the names of anyone they deem loyal to the former minister of finance, Salvatore Garang Mabiordit. It is believed that any claimants with checks who want money from the ministry of finance are first checked on the list to determine whether they qualify for the money. Loyalists of Garang Mabiordit are not even permitted inside the ministry’s perimeter gate. It is now a common recommendation to individuals hunting the money from the ministry of finance not to appear or sit in public with the typical Garang Mabiordit follower for he/she will not get his/her checks cleared or approved. This act means to push Hon. Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, who has long been vying for community leadership holds by current minister’s brother to the weak point of popularity, already people are deserting him as a result of this policy, the policy seems to be fitting it purpose. The national ministry has been transformed into the weapon of community war to protect the community leadership whose holder vowed to lead for life.
CONTRACT’S DEALS SAGA
It is believed that claimants who want their checks approved by the ministry of finance for payment must find middlemen or brokers who are not far from the minister’s inner circle; these groups range from official aides to relatives, friends and in-laws. This led to the earlier dismissal of the first minister’s group of aides which are mostly relatives, and it is still in progress with a new group, which bears the same identity. The reintroduction of the 10% policy which has now shifted to 30% by the minister’s associates is another staggering revived old corruption anecdote being practised then by Salvatore Garang Mabiordit. The new trick is—to avoid confusion later—the claimant must pay this group they said per cent of the claimed value to speed up the approval procedures of the check. Minister is practising crocodile tears to not know this but he is fully aware: this is another supplementary endeavor aiming at bolster the empowerment scheme mentioned earlier.
Upon assuming the office, the minister instructs cousins and his accomplices to set up their briefcase businesses, which are pre-empted to have accomplished the contracts awarded to them by government agencies respectively. Millions of pounds are given to those dodgy businesses for undone work. This offer is primarily for people who were unable to secure a medical referral deal promptly. Even illiterate people who only remember the digits in the paper can be found rummaging around the ministry with papers in their hand—-just talking the language of millions and apurubol (approval). Dinka dialect is likely the official language in that ministry. Those who have already been given money can just use ghost names to have second or third opportunities of getting approval. Medical referral documents are the order of the day, if you go to that ministry, you may think that you are in Juba teaching hospital; healthy people are dying of faked diseases. On other words, strong and healthy ones are get medical referral funds and the real sick ones who are not minister’s relatives are denied. Go there and get to know how the ministry of finance is the most misguided institution in the government of South Sudan.
ANALYSIS OF WHY THE CURRENT MINISTER FAILED HIS OBLIGATIONS
Since Agak appears to be a novice in economics or his ideas may have been dated, here is the real reason he has failed to fulfil his obligations. The shocking loss of almost 70 per cent of the local currency’s external value is evidence of his inability. Do you understand why SSP declined quickly when Agak seized control of the national ministry of finance? You’ll realize why Hon. Agak Achuil is a waste of time if you access the data and citations of figures in the Bank of South Sudan in response to the questions above.
Where does Agak get the money to pay checks and salaries? Agak simply decided to print more money and pump it into the market in the form of salary and cheque payments after deciding to issue numerous checks to his family and friends, ignoring the basic prerequisites of guaranteeing money in the government accounts prior to issuing the cheques. In other words, Agak ignored the obvious fact that it is illegal to issue bank checks to creditors when your bank account does not have enough money. It is this printing and influx of new pounds into circulation that has little a bit compromised the value of pounds. This is where the risen of the exchange rate come from (dollar biga gali).
Instead of Agak Achuil Lual and his family’s rat economic policies, I believe, South Sudan needs an economic strategist that stops short-term borrowing from the central bank in favour of none family empowerment, diversifies the economy, and adopts inflation-targeting monetary policy frameworks that are primarily fiscal. That strategist has to promote agricultural growth and lessen the nation’s reliance on oil. The minister of finance must to establish inflation targets for a specific year and permit the central bank to make sound use of its monetary policy to attain those targets and not printing of money and distributed them to families, friends, and whoever supports him on social media. Currently, there is unprofessional mingling of duties between the minister of finance and bank governor which has confused the economy.
Our currency would not have experienced such astounding declines in buying power if the minister of finance had been able to borrow money from the central bank to fund Chapter one of the government budget, the circulation of the monetary and exchange rate is entirely the work of Central Bank but the minister seems to be more interested in monetary papers than fiscal policies. Needless to say, Hon. Garang Mabiordit the former minister of finance and planning and Gamal Abdalla Wani of the Central Bank were fired respectively in 2020 due to their failure to control SSP against external value; that is confusing the monetary policies with fiscal policies. Instead, the minister borrowed money from the central bank to fund the insatiable thirst of some of their friends and family members (holders of bank checks) as the current minister is doing now. Thanks to Athian Diing Athian for adjusting the line and proving himself to be a better economist in Gogrial.
Sincerely, if the current minister of finance and planning didn’t have so much power of dark force at his disposal to influence the shrine of decrees, he would not be in that position. However, someone who knows President Kiir in person should inform him that South Sudan’s economy has merely remained a skeleton; the central bank as structure and the papers in the form of cash have been hauled to the villagers for purchase of Premio and cattle for marriages; that his economic Messiah has become a “gypsy” and the situation he has created is more than feral outside J1. President Kiir may need to move quickly to remove him unless he wants to see us reaching the level of Zimbabwe’s economy before the end of the year.
NOTES TO PRESIDENT SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT
Mr President, I know your officials are convincing you that they are doing well in their duties and assignments but be mindful that they are doing perjury. We the hoi polloi are suffering from bad and corrupt policies initiated by those whom you bestowed trust, that is why most of us spent much time and energy, voluntarily trying to persuade you and your officials to take the fight against corruption seriously; but there is no heed, I’m sure that your government will not move out of this putrefaction cycle unless you recognize the danger presented by some official and addressed it head-on, you will never win the war. The story of Agak Achuil is not merely the most prominent example. He made it clear that corruption is not just a generosity issue but also a matter touching on ideas or beliefs of creating an opulent family. It is becoming a subject of national security and concern for all citizens rather than a threat to your government. Accountability for iniquitous officials lies with you, Mr president: When dishonest officials are placed over the citizens who gave up the politic and other concerns of their lives as respect for their ruler, and yet they are not getting better lives in reward, the fault lies with him who appointed them. Act, please!
To be continued
The author is a concerned citizen and is reachable via: email@example.com.
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