Central Equatoria State not parallel with National Government in Foreign Investment

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, MAR/22/2014, SSN;

This is a response to an emotive and provocative article, “Why is States Parallel with National Government in Foreign Investment?” that appeared in the Opinion Column of The Citizen Vol. 8 Issue 701 of Wednesday March 19, 2014. The article was written by one Anthony Agiem Akot.

I read the article with keen interest as the author raised a number of issues, mostly challenging the constitutional powers of the States of South Sudan in relation to foreign investment.

According to the author foreign investment is the exclusive prerogative of the National Government.

It was apparent that the author did not mask his contempt for the States with reference to foreign investment.

He said, “With Independence of Republic of South Sudan almost two years time now, there have been parallel foreign investments approaches of the States with the National Government. It started with those of Central Equatoria State, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, Unity State, Warrap State, Western Equatoria State etc to mention them that their Governors visited Capital cities and National Corporations of the host Countries to go and to make deals. Deals worth lot of millions of United States of America Dollars without consulting Central Government Agencies allocated such activities”.

The problem here seems to be too much imagination in the absence of objective reality.

The author asked sarcastically, “Is there any article or articles in our Constitution that allow States’ Governments to make such expensive foreign investment projects and programs agreements out of overall foreign South Sudan Republic policies?”

I am responding here with reference to Central Equatoria State. The other States mentioned by the author have capable individuals to respond on behalf of their respective States.

The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011

From the article there seems to have not been sufficient familiarization with the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011.

In Schedule (C), Concurrent Powers, the Constitution is very clear in that the National and State governments shall have legislative and executive competencies on any matter such as “Subject to regulation by and approval of the National Government, the initiation, negotiation and conclusion of Bilateral and Regional Agreements on culture, sports, trade, investment, credit, loans, grants and technical assistance with foreign governments and foreign non-governmental organizations” can be undertaken.

What does one think of the Concurrent Powers in the Constitution? Was it an error on the part of Republic of South Sudan?

The Concurrent Powers in the Constitution suggest that with the approval of the National Government, Governors are allowed to solicit foreign investment for socio-economic development in raising the living standards of people in their respective States.

This is precisely how the States are taking advantage of attracting foreign investment for development.

I was amused when the author asserted that, “For our Country to avoid invitation of problems, States have no right to overstep their local boundaries for International boundaries responsibilities”.

Is it a problem seeking foreign investment for development to improve the standards of living at home?

Does it depend on the whims of somebody else to stop the States from seeking foreign investment in contradiction to the Concurrent Powers in the Constitution?

Central Equatoria State complementary to National Government

It can be said with confidence that Central Equatoria State is not parallel with the National Government in foreign investment. This should be clear to those who do not want to see Central Equatoria State developing as expected.

It must be understood that when the States are developing it is in fact South Sudan developing.

It is important that the States and the National Government should not be perceived as poles apart operating on different wavelengths.

The Republic of South Sudan is one country but with different levels of government. It is still too early for people to realize that a federal system of governance may help the Republic of South Sudan to resolve some of its burning issues.

However, it is fundamental that people should first reach a consensus on governance to resolve the ongoing crisis in the country.

Central Equatoria State is keen on development. The allegation that the Constitution of South Sudan is being abused by Central Equatoria State is very unfortunate.

Central Equatoria State is on record of abiding by its obligation to seek approval of the National Government for foreign business trips.

For example, a trip to China to conclude an investment agreement was approved by the National Government. How then could a knowledgeable person erroneously conclude that Central Equatoria State was abusing the Constitution of South Sudan?

On the contrary the endeavours of Central Equatoria State are complementary to the effort of the National Government in realizing socio-economic development in South Sudan in general.

Any State is home to any South Sudanese and the more a State is developed the better services may be delivered to the people.

Hopefully the strides Central Equatoria State is making in development do not make others to feel they are being left behind and so development in Central Equatoria State must be sabotaged.

We should all be positive about development in our respective States through foreign investment brought about by energetic and development-oriented Governors.

Conclusion

Playing politics is not helpful in our effort for national unity and sustainable development to improve living standards.

Although it was probably intended to score a point, the mention of Dr Riek Machar was irrelevant in relation to foreign investment in the States. Unlike Dr Riek Machar the State Governors are loyal to the National Government.

In addition the Governors have a constitutional right to solicit foreign investment with the approval of the National Government as indicated in the Constitution, Schedule (C), and Concurrent Powers.

So the claim that Central Equatoria State is abusing the constitution is erroneous and grossly misleading.

In conclusion, the article, “Why is States Parallel with National Government in Foreign Investment?” focusing on Central Equatoria State, seems to mask deep-seated pessimism and contempt for the powers of the States.

National cohesion cannot be achieved in this way. Positive thinking and culture of innovation may be helpful, and I hope people understand what national cohesion or unity entails when antagonisms fracture. END

16 Comments

  1. Rumunu says:

    Dear Lupai, Congratulations for your good response to the Opinion Column of The Citizen Vol. 8 Issue 701 of Wednesday March 19, 2014. My brother , it is really unfortunate for us to be together with such people are not using their brain well to think and the contrary part of it is that we claim to be enlighten about the outer world. Our people in South Sudan including me writing this comment, the way we live in South Sudan is on temporary basis as if we are going to live some where in the space and in deed we are according to our Bible teaching. Our permanent home is in heaven, even though that claim holds by the time we are waiting, this is our permanent home. Why I say this because, our people are corrupt, selfish, lack of political will, just to mention a few. We South Sudanese by character do admire good environment, good house, good road net work, but we don’t want to work for it and we are not creative enough to think further for better developments to come to our States and the dear country at large. The claim of saying State Government is working parallel with the central Government is not true, I looked at it as a lame excuse from those who are not able to perform, usually a laze farmer blames his tool. Western Equatoria State had a project that is to be financed by acquiring loan from one of the Chinese bank to construct tarmac roads to connect all the counties. Eastern Equatoria State is having a project of Power Plant and Agricultural activities and I believed also by loan from the same Chinese bank and the signing of these Contracts were done directly or indirectly by National Ministry of Finance on behalf of the State Governments and this indicates that Central Government is fully aware of what the States are doing and here I stand to be corrected, now if this is true where is the claim of saying state Governments are operating parallel with the Central Government? or according to him National Ministry of Finance is not part of Central Government or does he mean that State Government should come through him for authenticity? South Sudanese lets learn to be realistic in some of our writings or we are just writing to be known also that Mr. X has written also today in one of the Web sites, but that should not be the case rather lets put good opinions that is healthy for the nation.
    I believed such a person, when given an opportunity to hold any key office in the Central Government will definitely sabotage many developmental projects that are initiated by State Government specifically by Equatorian States because he has no political will neither for his home state or for central Government, he will be there to satisfy himself and his nuclear family. The major issue for most of our brothers is Equatoria and it pains them on seeing the progress of Equatorians such people expect good and bad alike should only and only be seen from them whether be corruptions or other thing that are good, but they have no idea or capacity to initiate. The Equatorian People are focused by action and not people of mouth say. In conclusion if you are tied leave Equatorians alone from brother. Wish you all the best

  2. jay johnson says:

    It is difficult to comment on the matter when we do not know the kind of investments undertaken by the states with or without the knowledge of central government. As a general principle, there should be clear line separating national and local resources. Investments pertaining to national resources should be initiate and conducted exclusively by the central government. I am also not sure whether or not the transition constitution have set out a clear guidelines with regard to what constitute national and local resources.

    In any case, I believe the state government have a role to play toward economic development provide that they have jurisdiction pursuant to the kind of investment and venture they wish to undertake. The top down approaches policy will not move the country forward as the central government seem to have no vision for the country.

    Minerals resources like gold or oil for instance, should be left to the central government while sectors like agriculture, education and health, though need expensive investment should be left to the state to decide. What is important in this case is transparency and decision making process that is subjected to public reviews and scrutiny.

    The case Mukaya payam ( Central Equatoria), Boma national park ( Jonglei state ) and Egyptian agriculture deal in western upper nile show that local government is not immune from corruption. Any investment made either by federal and local government should involve all stakeholders. For instance, the community that will be affected as a result of particular investment need to be part of that process so that they can comprehend the consequences of such contracts

    It is important that the states exercise some restrain when it comes to those investments involving million of dollars. The reason being if states are allow to make such investment decisions by themselves, the less unfortunate states in term of resources will be deprive of revenues which will be accrue from such investments. In other word, there would be no equitable distribution of national resources.

    For instance, the state of Jonglei which have promising potential for oil can not be allow to enter into a contract with a foreign entity without the blessing of federal government. This is the implications of allowing the states to negotiate long term investments contracts and obligation with out the knowledge of national government.

    In conclusion, The states should not be dismiss as irrelevance when it comes to investments, long term or otherwise. Similarly, the states should also be cautious because without the sharing of national resources, we would not be calling ourselves a state or nation.

    • Defender says:

      Jay,

      If you are not sure, why comment? Please read your Transitional Constitution 2011, educate yourself and then comment. It will make you much more informed, to contribute with substance, instead of “I am also not sure whether or not the transition constitution have set out a clear guidelines with regard to what constitute national and local resources.” Have you read about the “concurrent powers”? If not, read and you will be able to answer this question and save us the heart ache of trying to educate you in public of what you need to know.

      The article by Lupai has referenced which part of the Transitional Constitution give rights to the States to pursue investment and other initiatives that they concurrently share. If you are taking only about centralized control, what have they done for the last nine years. It this centralised shenanigans that has put most of the progressively minded states from realizing their development needs. This is because most of these states rely on national policies that see little in localizing investment and development ideas. We are poorer for it that we think the central government knows everything…that is why we seem to think the whole country is the same. If those in the state are able to showcase their need to lift the living standards of its people through investment and other initiative, why would the national/central government seek to thwart their initiative?

      The only people who would want to continue with centralization of all powers are the people that want to steal and deal with everything that have monetary value in South Sudan. Because, if state continue to seek investment and development initiative at their levels, those who are used to get kickbacks wouldn’t have the chance. As their cousins and uncles are not holding the strings. This is the bottom line.

  3. Joana Adams says:

    For Attn of Agiem Akot,
    There is no point in quoting a constitution which is routinely and systematically being violated by the powers that be. Since there is in effect no constitution and south Sudan is being ruled by personal whims of Mayardit, it is not obligatory to respect neither the president nor the nation-state of SS. The government should stop picking quarrels with everybody. Solve your problems with Riek or the UN and Western governments first before looking for more problems from governors who contrary to the wishes of their constituents have supported a crimal president. Dinkocrats should learn to say thank you to those who support them undeservedly.
    Having said so, even according to your rotten and water down constitution, the republic of south Sudan is still a federal republic and therefore State governors have the duty to foster development in their states. If the centralised dinkocratic government were to properly collect revenues and budget fairly and equitably for national as well as state governments; and if the president had prosecuted and recovered funds looted by the 75 officials amounting to billions of dollars; and if the reckless president had not to stop oil production in 2012, and further siphoned 4.5 US dollars of our oil revenue in 2013, for which he is now starving the country( under the pretext of debt servicing); then perhaps state government’s wouldn’t be receiving grants of only 1% each of our total national budgets. It is to be remembered that the nationl government in Juba, retains nearly 90% of our annual budgt while the 10 states (where the majority of ourpopulation live and therefore hould be povided services), receive only 1% each of the budgetary allocation. Revenues from taxation are robed off from state governments and yet do not get remitted o the national treasury but end up with individul high ranking ministers or commanders. And if the kleptocratic government were not to obstruct annual audits since the inception of the GOSS in 2005, perhaps we would know how our public revenues are being spent or squandered. But we don’t. And the government makes sure it keeps the general public uninformed about our national finances to evade accountability.
    You only need to look at the deplorable negligence of service provisions, the irregular payments of public service employees such as teachers at both national and state levels, and if you are a decent person, you will concur that the government which knows nothing other than war mongering is truly unfit for purpose. Is it any wonder that the little that trickles down to the state levels are pocketed by some unscrupulous governors. And why not if their mentor, the president does the same? Children learn from their fathers!
    How then, do you honestly blame state governments for taking the initiatives to solicit foreign investments for development or physical structures or even service provisions which have been totally neglected by the central government. You cannot have it both ways. Either you start properly to develop national infrastrures and allow state governments to have a measure of freedom to develop and provide services in their states, you will soon get a very rude awakening.
    Not everything should be seen from autocratic lenses of accumulating and preserving powers for the de facto monarch.
    In genuine federal states, provision of services is the prerogatives of state governments. And State governments are held accountable by state legislature and their electorates. The president or the national governenmt dont interefere with state affairs but are constitutionally restricted to foreign affairs, defence, and monetary portfolios.
    People like Agiem Akot and their dinkocratic patrons should go back to school and allow this prematurely born nation, to be nurtured by those with appropriate knowledge and skills.
    It is unfortunate that each time a non entity Jieng wants quick promotion like Ateny Wek, they have to stirr up problems for others regardless of the consequences. What a shame?

    Joana Adams

    • jay johnson says:

      Joana Adam,

      your comment is unquestionably rebellious and pessimistic. If that is the case, I would advise you to join Riek rebellion, and possibly to become its first female commander. It is incomprehensible as to why you are still hanging around without joining the rank of the rebels.

      The problems with anti government crowd is that, they like to run their long mouth but fall short of providing solutions. They are stubbornly reluctant to envision becoming the agent of changes the emotively and passionately advocate on the internets. The Internet liberators and democrats are doom to fail with their pessimistic and negative view of the government.

      You are simply a sell out as you were during the liberation struggle for independent.

      • Joana Adams says:

        Jay,
        You have been advised by the above discussant to take time to read the transitional constitution. Once you have read it, try to answer Jacob Lupai,s concerns which he spelt out in his article. Stop wasting your time on attacking me. Whether I am rebellious or not or who I should join is none of your bloody business.

      • Jay
        You need to accept the truth. Because this country needs innovative skilled leaders who understand management. When you contemplate into the South Sudan crisis, you will conclude that governance is the problem. For example: YauYau is claiming to have a separate state for the Murle people in Jongolei. This is typical of the fact that the Murle people are merginalised and neglected.

        Joana has said it all. I am only adding another solution which is the central government MUST immplement a federal system in this country, where every person goes back to his/her federal state to develop it, I think if this system is adopted in South Sudan no body would feel left out of governing the country. But because this government which lacks confidence and is eager to loot public funds inclinds to fight any person whom they consider as more competent and skilled like Riek Mashar.

        Jay, you better stop intimidating people. Who are you to suggest to someone to join Riek Mashar? The erra of intimidation is gone. Your government got to understand that Kiirler (Kiir) MUST step down. Kiirler and your alike are not for the welfare of the people. Kiirler enjoys killing citizens. He has nothing to offer other than starving people.

        You don’t tell educated citizens like Joana to rebel. We will continue to oppose this governement as long as it is a war mongering government from within.

  4. arabbmoi says:

    Dr. Lupai the writer name is seeming a Jenger and they are always jalous, disrepect constitutional values. I would like every governor at this caostic time to be indepened. Their is no really govenmetn as we speaks.

  5. Defender says:

    Lupai,

    Your response is well deserved. Our people are used to centralized systems of government that they forget the fact that life exist outside of the powers of the Central Government. States, as you correctly referenced, in the TCSS2011, share powers with states. This is very obvious, but some people, as you mentioned want to score points, or willingly would want to mislead people to think of development initiatives that originate in states put the national government in bad spotlight. This type of thinking is bad and runs counter to the immense need our country needs. Having competent people that look to improve the lives in their constituencies does not mean interference in the powers of the national government. I am glad that there people like you who seek to inform those who, wantonly ignore facts. It is great that you are defending your state and at the same time educating the rest about what our Transitional Constitution says about concurrent powers.

    You will not be surprised that one day, another pundit will come along and say that States are not allowed to collect taxes. This is the mentality our people take to the bank everyday to try to score point or address the uneducated about the constitution and state institutions powers to deliver services or seek development initiatives from foreign and friendly nations.

    Keep up the good work.

  6. Morbe says:

    Unfortunately I have not read the article in question. However, if the two words mentioned were direct quote from the said article that is: initiating investment ventures independently by the state tantamount to abuse of constitution.
    Two things come to my mind immediately: One, Either the writer was under instruction by Ateny Wek government spokesman( owners of the pepper) to prepare minds and souls for another effort of purging state leaders who are believed to exercise assertiveness in promoting development programs in their states OR the writer was simply jealous of the rate of development the great state of Equatoria is achieving. For the writers statements smacks of contempt towards the Equatoria leaders and it was equally designed to remind power that be that: look here it is time to change focus on the state leaders that don’t follow our line of thinking.
    We all know what abuse of office entails leave alone abuse of a constitution. Therefore, if someone rises the issue of abuse of constitution at this particular moment of political turmoil in our country it should be a matter of concern to the state leaders as it could be a precursor of something to come like amending the constitution or worse. Remember all the ongoing recruitment of young men in the country is done In the name of the so called defending the constitution.

  7. Charles says:

    Where was this guy when the President was walking all over the constitution? My take is either he has never read the transitional constitution or he is simply alarmed at the rapid way Equatoria is picking up in terms of attracting investors that will put the Central government to shame. With the level of insecurity in the other states, Equatoria is going to be the only safe haven for investors regardless of the efforts of the state governments. Anthony Agiem Akot should rather spend his time and efforts to bring about peace and stability in his state than try and persuade other states not to develop themselves or their people. Let the states whose people love peace and the rule of law go full steam with their development and not be detracted by the likes of Akot. They are on the right track. Perhaps, if the others finally come to their senses they will borrow a leaf or two from their sister states.

  8. Dear Jacob K Lupai, thank you for the article. It is good initiative to stand up and defend the rights of Central Equatoria state’s government. However, as a national figure I would suggest that you herald your arguments to defend the rights of all states in South Sudan rather than focusing on Central Equatoria alone.

    Or atleast you should put on your effort to stand up for greater Equatoria to show a sense of United Equatoria.

    Personally, Equatoria seems fragmented on tribal basis which the Equatorian elete should fight back and resotre Equatorian unity. Example: Where is Equatoria commercial banks, Equatoria Inn, Rajaf Night Club… etc all are lost because of this sickness acquired from dinka tribal phylosophy (divide them on tribal basis then we (dinka) will be the majority to rule)

    Equatoria needs to speak one voice of United Equatoria for the welfare of Equatorians.

  9. Mack A. Riak says:

    Very objective article. The development Central Equatoria is undergoing must to be emulated by others; in that its people respect the laws of the land, peaceful and love themselves and have resolved to build and development their respective localities. Without the above principles, you cannot achieve any development. This cannot make others to be jealous of Central Equatoria, but learn from them.

  10. Long Ranger says:

    Well, Kokora is imminent

    • JK Lupai says:

      Indeed Kokora cannot be ruled out because it is no longer a secret that others want to conquer and occupy Equatoria, and then oppress its people, something that had forced the people of Southern Sudan to opt for independence from the inferior Arabs of Sudan. Those uncultured others barbarically want to assume the hegemonic role of the inferior Arabs in independent South Sudan. However, it is not yet too late to save the voluntary unity of South Sudan through a federal system of government or else the disintegration of South Sudan may be unavoidable.

  11. Well Mr. Lupai, your response to the article written by none other than Anthony Agiem Akot is well versed and to the point, because as long as the approval of the National government is sought in this response, then there is nothing wrong with the States soliciting for foreign investments and with the National Government working as a guarantor for investment funds, this is so that, developmental projects are funded through the solicited funds in that particular State so much so that, poverty is alleviated and socio economic prosperity for the whole Country is achieved. well done response.

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