MPS Divided Over Removal Of Fuel Subsidy

Members of the National Legislature are divided over the proposal by the Finance Minister to remove the over 28 billion SSP allocated for Nile Petroleum Corporation (Nilepet) to import subsidized fuel for domestic consumption from the 2017/2018 budget.

 MPS Divided Over Removal Of Fuel Subsidy
Parliament deliberations in Juba [Photo by Jale Richard]

By Jale Richard

JUBA, 11 August 2017 [Gurtong]-
Yesterday in the deliberation of the proposed fiscal year of 2017/2018, some members of parliament disagreed over the matter.

In the proposed budget, the minister of finance, Stephen Dhieu Dau proposed that the subsidy be removed to avail some money for State transfers and salaries of civil servants.

Member of Parliament Ahmed Mohamed Musa said the fuel subsidy should be handled with care, because any decision without considering the ordinary people will cause a lot of suffering on the citizens.

“We should not handle it like the devaluation of the South Sudanese pounds in 2015 not to cause problems to the country,” he said.

However, for Dusman Joyce James, the fuel subsidy should be removed and be given to the ministries.

“How can we give ministries a small amount of money and yet they have a lot of activities?” she said. “Giving this 28 billion is really a disaster for us because as parliamentarian we need to see the gap to be filled.”

According to the estimates of the proposed budget for 2017-2018, Nilepet is expected to have up to USD 183 million (SSP 28.3 billion) to import subsidized fuel for domestic consumption.

If the subsidy on fuel given to Nilepet is lifted, the government will save the USD 183 million (SSP 28.3 billion) for other expenditures, according to the Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau.

 “When we are doing things, let us think about the poor people because the 28 billion SSP going to Nilepet we will not see fuel in this country, people will keep suffering every time,” said Dusman.

“We need to seriously consider reducing or eliminating the fuel price subsidy managed by Nilepet,” he said. “This is the single most viable option for increasing resource for government’s spending in 2017-2018.”

Minister Dau said if the government eliminates the fuel price subsidy; it will be in a position to pay salaries on time, something it has been struggling to do.

The parliament will resume deliberations on the budget on Monday.


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