By: Eluzai Matata, South Sudan, SEP/26/2014, SSN;
The Government South Sudan (GOSS) is faced with multiple problems stemming from frustrations of citizens and workers nationally and internationally. Many are unemployed and live below the poverty line. The day-to-day livelihoods are scanty. Farms are run down by conflicts, thousands are displaced. Employment options are scant. Citizens are yawning for government stimulus plan, a bail out.
There are, however, institutional options the government can select from to create opportunities for the young and energetic working force whose current political, social and economic contributions in South Sudan are uncounted for.
The question is “what went wrong?” The jobs in South Sudan seemed to be only accommodative of school and graduate leavers.
The mass youths of South Sudan have very thin opportunity margin to break through the education qualifications and experience requirements placed by the government, private and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) institutions.
Any conflict or post conflict nation diversifies its sectors of the economy to attract young people away from active conflict activities. The young will have wider growth and development options to engage in, rather always waiting for employments in the executive, legislative and judicial organs of the government.
The government ought to reaffirm its commitment to broaden space for investments that create jobs, increase national revenue and minimize on profit repatriation. Employments motivate and boost the morale of citizens. National and international public-private partnerships that are mutual in nature should be pursued.
Most of the key sectors of the economy that provide business services in South Sudan are run by foreign nationals. This include fuel stations, banks, fresh water supply, food supply, construction materials supply (timber, cement, paint, electrical equipment, iron sheet), oil exploration, just to mention a few.
They (foreign dominants) who work alone without South Sudanese do not contribute to sustainable development in the long term. In the event that foreigners switch off services, many South Sudanese needs and work comes to languish.
A case in point was when floods ravaged transport services and the 15th Dec 2013 conflicts eruption etc. the entire nation was short of fuel, fresh water, electricity, food, and the list goes on and on.
In some other countries (e.g. South Africa on mines; Zimbabwe on land redistribution, mining sector, Malaysia on aviation industry etc) the government embarked on nationalization of the key sectors of the economy to strengthen its political grip on power and attract the country’s societies closer to the government than to the private sectors.
They also worked to ensure that national economic sovereignty, ownership and control is attained. But for South Sudan, such a policy would increase existing outrage from our African allies, though it may remain pursuable should it be prove a viable option.
It should be noted that, the private sector leads to concentration of profits in the hands of a few. In the case of South Sudan where many private sector institutions are foreign, huge profit repatriation is inevitable.
If the government engaged into such investments, a lot more of financial, human and material resources would be developed and retained in South Sudan.
At the moment, I observe that our country is not at mutual footing with other countries. We have the potentials in human and natural resource base. We needed fair trade, transparent procurement and exchange of capital inputs, we need subsidies in agricultural inputs, we need trans-boundary agreements in natural resource management, and we need skills exchange for wider infrastructural developments.
South Sudan can move forward, if the following sector of economic growth and development are approached carefully.
List of Institutional Options for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to Improve Employment Opportunities in South Sudan:
1. The Banking Sector: Commercial banks notably – Kenya Commercial Banks, Equity Ban Bank, Charter One, Ethiopian Commercial Bank; and Foreign exchange bureaus.
2. Education and health care development: primary, secondary and university growth and developments with unified curriculum for each level; primary health care, dispensaries, clinics and hospitals.
3. The Energy and Petroleum – retail and whole sales sectors: Fuel stations; promotion of Hydro electricity power; minimizing thermal electricity supplies; and the mining sector.
4. The transport sector: Roads: Public transportation using buses; Water: motor boats, ships, ferries and; Air: aircrafts efficiency as a high risk, but lucrative venture.
5. The food and drug sector: Revitalizing the agro-industries of South Sudan (Nzara Agro-industrial complex, Upper Talanga Tea Plantation, Aweil Rice Scheme, Yirol Shea butter factory, Mangalla Agro-Industry, Eastern Equatoria Development Project, Melut Sugar Factory, Wau Fruit Factory; and National Drug Authority and pharmaceutical companies.
6. Eco-Tourism and wildlife Conservation sector (payment for ecosystem services): Protected Area Administration – reestablishment of National Park HQs; Hotels and restaurants; and National Tour and Travel Guide.
7. Water and sewerage sector: Fresh water supply; and Sewage waste disposal and management.
8. Land and Property Rights Sector: Housing Finance Estates; mortgage, land banking; and property insurance.
9. Insurance sector: Health care insurance; motor vehicle insurance…
10. Logistics and procurement sector.
Conclusion: The fact the private sector is important in nation building does not mean the government cannot do business. Our government is now limited to employment opportunities to its national ministries, state ministries and county local governments!
Venturing into sole proprietorships (business managed only government staff under nationalization of the key economy sector) or parastatal (joint business ventures – public – private sector partnership) would help government to improve on development potentials for job creation, improves national revenue base from taxes, resolve in national gross domestic products (GDP), and national income per capita.
Hence, the need to redirect national education curricula that suits the current and future skills demands in the labour market.
Rather than expelling, the government should insist on accommodating more citizens in the international companies/ NGOs for employment opportunities requiring nationals. We ought to work together to reap from the benefits of globalization, under legal provisions.
Our members of parliament need to stand up to the current test of times by producing laws and regulations guiding foreign employments in South Sudan.
A clear legal and institutional framework developed, monitored and evaluated timely, will improve our national and international cooperation. No part of the world entertains illegal foreign employees.
Eluzai Matata is a South Sudanese Environment/ Natural Resource Development Professional. He can be reached at email@example.com