By Tong Kot Kuocnin, NAIROBI, Kenya, DEC/17/2015, SSN;
I am not an economist or financial expert but a lawyer by profession and a concerned citizen who has gravely been affected by unscrupulous incessant rise in inflation rates in the country caused by inertia of people entrusted with responsibility to oversee, run and initiate policies that meets the demand of the common man not highly privileged members of this community.
The issue of inflation and hikes in prices has severely impacted on the common citizens who are unable to get even ten pounds a day for a living.
It has reached the unprecedented climax precipitated by dollarization of every item in the market. The decision taken by both the minister of finance and economic planning, Deng Athorbei, and Bank of South Sudan governor, Kornelio Koryom Mayiik, has added salt to the already bleeding wound at unprecedented scale.
If you allow the rate to be determined by the marketeers without rules and regulations, you have given okay to the thieves and market predators who think about nothing but how to benefit at the behest of the common man in South Sudan.
You have initialed and legalized the survival of the fittest forgetting that not everybody has the ability to meet that living.
In Juba today, you buy a cup of tea at unprecedented rate determined by tea-makers and if you ask as to why the price of the cup of tea has risen, the only answer you get is that the dollar has shoot-up and she’s selling it at such a price so that “I get something to eat with my children.”
Now that the dollar rate is fixed to 18.5 but subject to determination by marketeers, you gave them licenses to loot the public especially the poor in broad daylight at your watch.
One thing Athorbei and Koriom and their accomplices must know is the fact that not all of us are privileged to live a life they are living with their families and not all of us in this country have access to public funds to establish businesses that can sustain us in meeting the new changes and demands.
When you make policies as a leader, the only thing you put in mind is the common or poor man not people of your status.
This policy or realignment of demand and supply as the economists call it, will surely make matters worse for the common man and increase turmoil and criminal activities because eighty per cent of the people will have nothing to eat and they can’t allow themselves to die while seeing others eating.
I am not against the decision to initiate economic policies or align the demand and supply in the market but any decision that is taken must not be retrogressive and at the disadvantage of the common people who are less privileged members of the society.
This decision I believe didn’t take into consideration the low and less income groups of people who are the majority in the country.
One thing our leaders should know is the fact that over the past years, a wide gap has been created among the people and that economic imbalance still exists and grows wider and wider day and night.
If this decision is effected as per the order communicated by the two principal authorities, it will create a lot of retro-gradation and would accelerate the worsening situation where everybody rebels since only the gate to recruitment into the army is the only way you can get employment and this has caused a lot of criminal enterprises in the country.
This decision needs to be revisited and reversed before it provokes and causes outrage and havoc. It is worse than the one that was sought to be enforced by the Governor of Central Bank which was rejected and reversed by the National Assembly.
If the two principals are real economists and they wanted to rescue the situation effectively, they must call and sit down with all economists we have in this country to deliberate on most pressing economic issues and to design and devise mechanisms to address these issues instead of embarking on a process that will backfire and cause the government and its people heavily in material and lives.
Our leaders must think twice before making any decision. Athorbei and Koriom should not take people of South Sudan for granted.
We have been patient enough and have persistently persevered all odds and hardships of the highest order on this planet. Spare us this time and revisit if not reversing your so-called realignment policy to meet demands and supplies on rates to be determined by marketeers.
Market forces in South Sudan are economic predators who wanted to benefit overnight at the disadvantage of the paupers or common man because they affect the availability of goods and the demand for them, on the pretext that dollar rates are high.
Without any help or control by government, tens of thousands of people will surely starve to death just at the beginning of the new year.
Don’t take people of South Sudan for granted simply because they have tied their belts and suffered for a very long time; our patience will surely run out this time if you continue slapping us in the face.
Believe me or not, it’s a fact and you will pay heavy consequences if the people angrily storm your offices or residences.
You brought shame to our great party, the SPLM, and to the people of South Sudan in the eyes of the world.
The National Assembly must exercise its powers and functions under article 57(i) of the Transitional Constitution and cast a vote of no-confidence against the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning because his action is a threat to national security of the country which if not urgently dealt with properly will cause havoc and turmoil of unprecedented scale.
Tong Kot Kuocnin is a Master of Laws (LLM) Candidate at the School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org