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JUBA - 9 Jul 2019

Finance minister proposes plan to reduce dollar use

Photo: Finance Minister Salvatore Garang
Photo: Finance Minister Salvatore Garang

Finance Minister Salvatore Garang Mabiordit has asked the country’s parliament to pass a law to use the national currency more often in transactions.

While presenting this year’s draft budget in parliament on Monday, Minister Garang said South Sudan government should work on reducing the economy’s dependence on the American currency.

“We have observed that dollarization is creating more problems to our economy, including putting enormous pressure on the exchange rate for fiscal year 2019/2020,” said Garang.

The minister called for legal steps to make using South Sudan Pound more actractive in all forms of payments, including medical referrals, foreign travels and contractual obligations.

“All contracts put in the system must be in our local currency,” he said, adding that foreign currencies will be available in the market.

On Monday, the minister was allowed to present a 2019-2020 fiscal year budget of 208 billion SSP to parliament after he promised to pay the salary arrears for soldiers and civil servants.

Oil-rich South Sudan is struggling to increase oil production, months after the signing of the peace deal in September 2018. It currently pumps 175,000 barrels per day of crude oil.

Last month, South Sudan government said it would borrow $500 million from the African Export-Import Bank to bridge the widening gap in its budget.