JUBA - President Salva Kiir has announced plans to down size his government to save money for development.
Addressing thousands of jubilant citizens during celebrations to mark the First Anniversary of South Sudan Independence at the Dr John Garang Mausoleum, Kiir said in the time of austerity measures, a large government is untenable.
“In these times of austerity we cannot afford it, and therefore we will downsize the government so that money is there for development,” he said to a thunderous applause from the people.
The President said that it was clear that the size of his government today is large compared to other countries.
South Sudan has about 60 ministers. It also has three hundred members in its bicameral National Legislature which consists of the National Legislative Assembly (332 seats) and the Council of States (50 seats).
Out of the 332 members of the National Legislative Assembly, 170 members were elected in 2010, 96 are former members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Sudan and 66 are appointed.
The Council of States on the other hand has 20 former members of the Council of States of the Republic of Sudan plus an additional 30 appointed representatives.
There are several other constitutional position holders notably Presidential advisors, members of independent commissions and chambers, members of State Legislative Assemblies and State ministers and advisors all earning hefty salaries and benefits from public coffers.
“If you want money (for development) the government must be small,” the President said.
Kiir also spoke against the idea of creating more counties, saying there is no money and they cannot solve the problems the country is facing now. There have been several requests for creation of new counties, lately.
“You want new counties when you know there is no money,” he said.
He explained that it would not be a wise decision to create more counties when even some of the existing 79 are still operating under miserable conditions.
The President said that for a county to operate effectively there must be residences for the officials, money to pay salaries, office buildings, cars, a hospital and at least one secondary school among other requirement.
“I am not against it; we want to take government to the people but with resources,” he advised.
He called on the citizens to be patient because building a nation takes time, especially at this time when government is running on austerity budget.
“One year we cannot build South Sudan in one year,” he said.
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Friday, 7 September 2012