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South Sudan Finance Minister Seeks More Non-Oil Revenues

South Sudanese lawmakers listen as Finance Minister Aggrey Sabuni Tisa presents the 2014-15 budget.
South Sudanese lawmakers listen as Finance Minister Aggrey Sabuni Tisa presents the 2014-15 budget.

South Sudan Minister of Finance Aggrey Sabuni Tisa urged the country to diversify its economic base so that it collects more revenues from sources other than oil as he presented the 2014-15 budget to lawmakers this week.

Oil brings in the lion's share of South Sudan's revenues, and the government expects it to bring in 8.9 billion South Sudanese pounds in revenue this fiscal year, or nearly 80 percent of the 11.3 billion pound budget submitted to parliament this week by President Salva Kiir.

Non-oil revenue is expected to be less than half of what oil brings in. Tisa predicted it will be bring in approximately 3 billion pounds and will come from sales taxes, customs and excise duties, personal income and business taxes, and license and other fees paid to the government. 

Second largest budget in South Sudan history

The budget is the second largest in the country's history. Only last year's budget was larger, at 18.6 billion pounds, or around $5.8 billion.

Nearly half of last year's budget was used to pay back loans the country took out when a row with Sudan over pipeline transit fees led to South Sudan shutting down oil production in 2012.

Presenting the 2014-15 budget to lawmakers, Tisa said its primary focus will be to "maintain security, keep government running and provide core services."

More than a third of the budget -- 4 billion South Sudanese pounds -- will go to the security sector. 

"We will also make efforts to pay down our debts and pay off some of our arrears, so that our finances remain on a sustainable footing. We will also support a few carefully selected investments to underpin our peace and reconstruction efforts,” he said.

Two-hundred-and-sixty-million pounds will go toward paying interest on outstanding debts and 800 million pounds to debt arrears.

Education was allocated 6.2 million pounds, and health around 4 million pounds.

Anti-fraud measures

Tisa called for an overhaul of revenue collection in South Sudan. Among other things, he said South Sudan needs laws that ensure that revenues do not disappear into the the pockets of corrupt officials.

“We need to streamline our revenue administration to maximize our revenue collections, minimize leakages and reduce the cost of doing business," he said.

The Treasury will "work closely with the Ministry of Justice in order to ensure that spending agencies do not enter into new contracts for which they have no budgetary allocation,” Tisa said.

South Sudan's fiscal year runs from July to June. Lawmakers are expected to pass the 2014-15 budget this month.

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by: Lisa from: Tx
July 03, 2014 8:18 PM
Mr presendent kiir. Yes we would like to see economic growth. By collection of Revenues through the government taxes. My point is why not stand up as presendent, talk about the distribution of food to the communities we all know that some area have no access to food. Your minister of finance he did not mention anything about food security,people are dying no food of their own but depending on UN which is not enough. Mr presendent, the government depend on the peoples taxes, but if we have food insecurity how are you going to collect the taxes from south sudanese who can't even keep the savings for their children , instead its hand to month. Save the women and children like that woman who have walk for almost 10 hours looking for food with her kids. Am asking you the members of pearliment to help so that people don't die because of hunger, if you people eat and the people who elected you have no food for their families do you think that God is happy with you. If you can't give their children food. Excuse me, if your elected by the people in your community then make sure you don't see any food security in your areas pray and think about it or don't eat until that poor child have something to eat. If it means to beg go a head and do so your appointed to help Jesus. By helping the innocent and the suffering.

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