Articles (Opinion/Analysis)

R-ARCSS on Economic & Financial Management Reforms in South Sudan (Part 1)

By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, 25th November 2021

Recent developments and engagements suggest that some actions are being taken regarding Chapter Four of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS). The Chapter, which is majorly about reforms in the economy, is titled: “RESOURCE, ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT”.

This part one of this article, starts with some relevant most recent developments, then goes on to mention, for the benefit of the reader, the General Principles provided for under the Chapter Four, while partly touching on the stipulations on Institutional Reforms, with specific focus on the Bank of South Sudan (the Central Bank) and what those provisions may mean.

Some of the recent developments:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) wants President Salva Kiir’s government to “account for past loans, prosecute the corrupt and improve financial discipline and transparency in use of public resources, especially earnings from oil,” the East African reported last week. “In the coming weeks and months, we hope to support the government in its endeavours to make sure that important areas of accountability and reforms are addressed,” it quoted IMF Director of African Department Abebe Selassie as saying.

This week also a joint Troika statement by the US, UK and Norway on economic reform in South Sudan welcomed the IMF engagement with the government.

“We are pleased that in their discussions with the IMF, the government agreed that it needs to be transparent and accountable for how it uses public resources so that they benefit the people of South Sudan….The government has shown itself capable of reforms and we welcome the reforms to date,” the statement says. 

The General Principles under Chapter Four:

The General Principles provided for under Chapter Four of the R-ARCSS on RESOURCE, ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT are as follows:

– Political leaders and stakeholders shall ensure that the RTGoNU is transparent and accountable, with legal, institutional, policies and procedures fully functional for sustainable development.

– Political leaders and stakeholders shall establish effective leadership and commitment in the fight against corruption. Any leader found to have condoned or engaged in corrupt practices shall be held accountable and barred from holding public office in accordance with this Agreement and the law.

-The RTGoNU shall develop a code of ethics and integrity for public officials emphasizing the values of honesty and integrity. In addition, it shall expand the curriculum in the educational system to inculcate the spirit of nationalism and promote the values of honesty, integrity and respect for public property.

-The RTGoNU shall establish a high-level, competent and effective oversight mechanism that shall control revenues collection, budgeting, revenue allocation and expenditure. The oversight mechanism may solicit technical and advisory resources on economic governance from the regional and international community. The mechanism shall be guided by principles of mutual consent in accountability.

-The wealth of South Sudan shall be shared equitably so as to enable each level of government to discharge its reconstruction, development, legal and constitutional obligations, duties and responsibilities.

-Revenue sharing shall reflect a commitment to devolution of powers and resources, and the decentralization of decision-making in regard to development, service delivery and governance.

-The RTGoNU shall undertake immediate and medium-term Economic and Financial Management reform programme. (See Articles 4.1.1. to 4.1.7.).

R-ARCSS on Institutional Reforms, a focus on The Bank of South Sudan (Central Bank)

Despite South Sudan gaining Independence since 2011, there continues to be concerns that the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS/BSS) lacks the capacity (legal and institutional) that could enable it to function as a Central Bank of a Sovereign nation in a conventional manner.

The last month’s statement from BSS’s director-general for banking supervision, Moses Makur Deng directing commercial banks to freeze and block bank accounts of Abraham Awolich, Rajab Mohandis, Wani Michael, James David Kolok and Kuel Aguer Kuel and organizations accused of being connected to the People’s Coalition for Civil Action PCCA is a recent example. For the directive made no citation on how the decision was reached and which law (laws) was (were) relied on.

Here also, the author would like to point out, for the benefit of the reader, the reform agenda the R-ARCSS has provided for, in relation to the Bank of South Sudan.

That:

– The RTGoNU shall, within three (3) months of the beginning of the Transition, review legislation governing the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) with a view to restructure and enable it to render efficient and effective service. This restructuring shall include, but not limited to, the leadership, composition, powers, functions and operations.

– The nomenclature of the Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) shall be decided upon the promulgation of the new Constitution (“Permanent” Constitution).

-The Bank of South Sudan shall:

-be independent in its statutory and supervisory functions;

– be responsible for formulating monetary policy, promoting price stability, issuing currency, regulating the financial sector, and performing other functions conferred upon it by the law;

– be headed by a competent and appropriately qualified Governor;

-adopt comprehensive reforms to improve its supervisory and regulatory functions and prudential regulatory roles;

-have a board of nine (9) members, at least 3 shall be women, appointed by the President in consultation and agreement with the First Vice President and the Vice Presidents.

-Within four (4) months upon the commencement of the Transitional Period, the President shall appoint the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan in consultation and agreement with the First Vice President and the Vice Presidents. (See Articles 4.2.1. to 4.2.3)

While delays in implementing the R-ARCSS continue to be there, with various reasons being cited, dialogue, engagements and knowing what should and can be done at various levels as far as reform and the implementation of the agreement is concerned is important and part of the peace process. 

Links:

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/news/article/opinion-r-arcss-on-economic-financial-management-reforms-in-south-sudan-part-1

https://www.nyamile.com/opinion/opinion-r-arcss-on-economic-financial-management-reforms-in-south-sudan-part-1/?fbclid=IwAR3ghKwtQV1dRwiUALcBJyhXMr8vrQ2K0V-oKGfmlSlJ20d-UA6kPQRErGg