BY: Morris Kuol Yoll, ALBERTA, CANADA, FEB/28/2014, SSN;
“Put your money where your mouth lies”, said the Good book. Apparently, South Sudan is not putting its money where it would fuel its economy through local investment and banking system.
Money made in South Sudan or money pumped into the country from the Diaspora source is in turn outsourced from the country by foreign banks and forex bureau agencies.
Likewise, many South Sudanese, in the country, are banking their money in foreign banks. Indeed, officials and normal citizens having families in the neighbouring countries are outsourcing money through money transfer to support their families overseas.
Hence, real investments from money made in South Sudan are therefore seen in neighbouring countries and foreign nations, which deprive a young nation the development it desperately needed.
Three years ago, before our independence, I said that foreign Banks and Forex bureau operations in South Sudan were a bad thing.
However, someone who styled himself as a banker, in response to my concern said that there was nothing wrong with foreign banks operations in the country.
I am no expert in the area and was dwarfed in this regard. Even so, it is distinctly not right to institute or accept monetary systems that pump money out in the country with no control.
Of course, there is an eerie part to foreign banks outsourcing money in the country. And for this reason, I felt my concern was misfired and South Sudan’s sovereignty violated by scams.
It is okay for foreign banks to operate in a country provided that a Country is aware of exploitation that ensues and how to restrain it.
However, South Sudan [is] a young and inexperienced nation that has not yet adequately developed laws to deal or stop smart and sly money defrauded by international corporations.
What I want to say here is that South Sudan is being exploited by foreign investors and its citizens that prefer banking their money in foreign banks.
That is: investors make money in the country and then pump it out for banking in foreign countries where real investments in constructions and various businesses are made.
Besides, our people are enticed by these foreign investors and banks to bank their money outside the country through foreign banks branches in South Sudan.
As well, our neighbours from Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Congo, etc. went to South Sudan where they make money with ease and get it out of our country with ease.
Not the least, many South Sudanese send their kids abroad, especially neighbouring countries, to study, taking cash made in South Sudan along with them.
These acts of outsourcing money drain South Sudan monetarily and enrich neighbouring countries where the money is banked, spent and invested.
In 1998, I visited Kenya. To say the less, Nairobi was a scary place to be. The city was full of trash and litters with little homeless kids lingering around corners of each street, whereas the city trash mounds were inhabited by little thugs born and raised in the garbage mounds.
Else, I will never forget the burning eyes looking at me and my wife as we were waiting for the city bus, or out pour of blames directed at my wife by relatives that were astonished and maddened in seeing her wearing gold earrings and necklaces on streets of Nairobi.
Economically, Kenya was suffering and many of its people were destitute. However, in 2010, when I visited Kenya, things had changed drastically for better. I saw new infrastructures erected and construction booms.
And to my surprise, Kenyans had changed. There were no more burning eyes staring at strangers. On one hand, there was no fear of wearing jewelries on the streets of Niarobi and my wife felt at ease and secured in wearing her gold earrings and chains. On one hand, those little thugs on the streets were less seen, and as well, the streets of Nairobi were cleaner and less littered.
Apparently, Kenya’s economic boom is not due to Western countries investments since western’s economies were facing huge economic meltdown of the century: it got to be South Sudan’s money.
Clearly, money from South Sudan is doing miracles it isn’t doing in South Sudan, but in the neighbouring countries- Kenyan and Uganda, and Ethiopia are good examples.
A sensible country must control money that is pumped into its system through its own national banking system, but South Sudan is not doing that, which disadvantages and deprives it from development badly needed throughout the country.
It is a high time that South Sudan must consider controlling monetary circulation within South Sudan for local investments by limiting outsourcing of money to foreign nations.
Our country authority should limit foreign banks operation and encourages national banking operation throughout the nation.
As well, citizens should be encouraged to bank in their national banks. Equally, foreign money transfer agencies in the country should be made to follow certain laws of the land designed to limit huge transfers of cash out of the country.
Limiting huge money transfer out of the country will also reduce corruption by those who steal and bank money out of the country.
In short, there is closer to a million or more South Sudanese in the Diaspora. These people send lots of money to South Sudan to support their families and relatives.
When I was in South Sudan, I saw multitudes of people overfilling Dahabshill agency every day, lining up to receive money sent to them abroad.
If South Sudanese local banks seize this opportunity and control these hard currencies flow into the country, they would use this money for local investments.
Our government should encourage its citizens to bank their money in the country, and most importantly encourages national banks and local banks to invest in infrastructures badly needed in the country.
It is not foreign banks or any foreign investments that would boast our economy, but significance investments made locally by our banking system that would bring a viable development needed.
Not the least, we have seen foreign investors, during this crisis, packing and leaving the country. Indeed, they left with their money, made in South Sudan and would come back again after peace to make more money and pump it outside the country since the South Sudan is not yet stable, security wise.
Controlling money to circulate in the country, strengthening local banking system in the country and encouraging local banks in South Sudan to invest in infrastructures, would address current infrastructures and properties destruction perpetuated in Unity State, Juba, Jongelie and Malakal by current war after peace agreement is ascertained.
Morris Yoll, is a south Sudanese Canadian residing in Alberta. Morris could be reached @ email@example.com