Dr. Riak Machar (Left) during the development conference in Torit [©Gurtong/ Peter Lokale]
By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
TORIT, 11th May 2012 [Gurtong]
The conference was attended by more than 1,000 dignitaries representing Kenyan Embassy to South Sudan, Ethiopian Embassy to South Sudan, Dutch/Netherlands Embassy to South Sudan, UN agencies such as UNMISS, UN-FAO, UN-WFP, UN-WHO, UNDP, UNOCHA, UNOPS, UN-IOM and UNICEF and International NGOs such as CHF International, Plan International, Caritas Luxemburg/Switzerland, NPA, Shelter for life, Danish Demining group, FARM Africa, NCA, The FARM project, War Child-Holland, ADRA-South Sudan, IRC,CRS, SAVE THE CHILDREN, JRS, IKV Pax Christi, Pact Sudan plus a key representative from Equity Bank and Civil Society Organization.
Accompanied by presidential Advisor on Economic Affairs, Hon. Agrey Tisa Sabuni and National Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning among others, the vice president congratulated the state Government of Eastern Equatoria on simultaneous development progress that he noted.
Dr. Machar expressed the need to continue delivering basic services to the people of EES as a crucial way of "taking towns closer to them" in line with vision of late leader Dr. John Garang de Mabior.
However, he regretted over the scarcity of resources prompting the National Government of South Sudan to adopt austerity measures where the states had 10% of their capital expenditure and operational cost sliced.
The VP strongly emphasized on the importance of having civil servants equipped with necessary knowledge and skills so to deliver better services or perhaps competitively.
He said that, “we need to concentrate our focus on capacity building of our civil servants in order for them to accordingly deliver essential services to the needy population in the state. That is the interest of the Republic. Let us not talk but implement programs if resources are available.”
The premier also called on donors to build up the capacity of the government of South Sudan, in order to provide more and better services for its people including effective security and rule of law across the country.
Dr. Machar continued urging donors to support agriculture and income generating opportunities for the poorest communities.
NGOs’ officials noted that Government structures are still extremely weak and being built up from almost nothing, especially outside the main towns saying that it will take time for South Sudan to assume full responsibility for the delivery of services.
South Sudan has a complex mix of emergency, recovery and development needs and it remains vulnerable to natural disasters such as floods and drought and is still susceptible to conflicts.
In his engaging speech, Dr. Machar also encouraged local investors not to fear foreign investors or expert investors from overseas but challenged them to boldly compete in investment opportunities.
The VP’s visit was in response to an invitation by the EES Governor to join him for the joint conference aimed at sharing ore experiences on development achievements and challenges with donors and development partners.