What do you consider as the most important sector in your country that the government should generously cover in their budget? Is it education? Or maybe health? Or could you be like South Sudan’s government and consider warfare as the most necessary budget expenditure concern?
In the 2016/2017 fiscal year, South Sudan’s government will spend half of its budget on military expenditure. The finance minister, Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau, of the battle-torn country made the announcement on Tuesday.
He informed the country’s parliament that the draft budget amounts to about 400 million dollars. In his words, “Less than half of the budget will be earmarked for education, the health sector and other services,”
This is despite the fact that the health and education sectors of South Sudan are near complete devastation due to the military conflicts that have ravaged the world’s youngest country again and again. The conflicts began when former Vice President Riek Machar pulled away from President Salva Kiir in December 2013.
Even before the eruption of violence, the country had been one of the least developed in Africa, having just gained independence from Sudan in 2011. The finance minister also revealed that South Sudan has spent 60 percent of its oil revenues on military expenses during the conflict.
With the high budgetary allocation for warfare in the next fiscal year budget, it looks like South Sudan is not yet ready to put down its weapons although rebel leader Riek Machar was sent into exile when violence once again erupted in July.
That reality does not bode well for citizens, who are suffering terribly already as the nation looks about to head into another civil war. Will Africa’s youngest country be able to survive another year where war is the most pressing concern of the government and rebels?