What really causes the delay in Government salaries?

BY: Andrew A. Nikenora, Rumbek, SEPT/13/2013, SSN;

The tough promise by the new Minister of Finance, Commerce, Trade and Industry, Mr. Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, that he would raise non-oil revenue collection in 100 days did not meet any necessary euphoria. In fact, nobody talked about it again the day after his announcement.

The reasons as to why people did not celebrate such a beautiful economic promise are many. Apart from the fact, that people have real substantiated doubts on whether the Minister would walk the talk by the end of the day or not, the underlying issue – and actually what could have caught the public attention – is the timely payment of Government salaries.

The apathy in the minister’s promise provokes a million of reasons. Some seem to be small but they factor in the lives of other people.

To raise the revenue collection is one thing but to manage it well is another thing.

South Sudan’s non-oil revenue can sustain the economy of the country if proper procedures, good measures and right regulations are put in place and implemented by people of meaningful integrity.

But without that done people will just continue to believe that this promise has just happened only to be listened to but will surely pass without anything visibly reaped by the public.

People who happened to know Minister Tisa Sabuni before described him as a tough administrator but fears have equally been expressed on whether he will remain the same guy he used to be or a manoeuvred one.

His statement is already being analysed simply as one to make him appear like he is ready for the job.

Another hurdle in implementing the promise of the new Minister is how hard it has been to discipline the junior staff employed in Nimuli, Kaya, the airports and across major towns of South Sudan.

These junior staffs have crafted ways and means to direct money to their own pockets. For them, it is brain encountering brain.

When the ministry concerned puts instructions in place, they also sit and plan on how to go overcome them. Those who know how to cheat better, are referred to as genius.

Big officials just like those ones and they are called ‘good boys’. They end up building hotels, houses, marry wives and shoulder concubines with public purse.

But as the minister tries his efforts, the other important concern must be placed on his table: what delays the government salaries? What can the minister promise about that?

During the days of the CPA, the delay of the government salaries was blamed on Khartoum.

When the oil flow was shut-down, the delay of government salaries was on blamed on what even those did not go to school now understands, the so-called ‘liquidity.’

Now we are an independent nation and free from Khartoum, can we know our problems?

Our oil has been flowing from April, is there still liquidity problem? The public needs to know and understand what are the problems are associated with salary payments.

One can have anything it his or her mind, but the conclusion by people is just wrapped around two issues about the delay in their pay: a matter of negligence or lack of proper systems for speedy transfer of funds to the states.

Most people do not have lots of money like ministers and other public officers do. Most people who work for government only wait for the end of the month to earn cash in hand. But delay in pay has devastated lives of many government workers.

Some people already turn down government jobs for NGOs work even for a lower pay – the reason being the unreliable, untimely and untrustworthiness of the government pay.

Those who choose to hold on – maybe for lack of alternatives or love of their jobs – continue to carry the burden of service offered every week and service delayed every month.

It actually becomes so painful when one budgets the little money to take him or her towards the end of the month, you are led again into the middle of another month without pay.

When circumstances of emergency or any other essentiality hit like treatment or payment of school fees, you go to borrow money from those who have money and pay it back with ‘riba’.

Riba is a word for interest that is usually charged when you pay back the amount borrowed. For every 100 SSP you borrow, you pay an extra 50 SSP as a profit to the lender.

The longer the salaries are delayed, the more you pay in interest over the same loan. It reaches a cycle where others are tied in complete rounds of loan.

So, a teacher in grade 14 who earns about 300 SSP per month borrows 100 pounds, he will have to pay back 150 SSP, that is already half of his salary. Left with 150 SSP and with a bag of flour going at more than 100 SSP the guy is left with nothing for soap and salt let alone medical care for the family, which are sometimes very very extended ones.

The following month the salaries are late again and before you get the next pay problems are already many that you have to go back for the same loan with ‘riba’.

The unpredictable pay scheme pushes to go on and on borrowing and borrowing until it reaches a time when they just come on a pay-day to sign the pay sheets just to pay the lenders.

Minister after minister, the issue of delay of government salaries has remain unresolved. Tisa’s appointment has led people into discussing his reputation, but one month on he promised nothing and did nothing about the government salaries.

It is almost one month down the line and there no change in payment of government salaries. That he will raise the revenue is heard all over.

Down the line it will be seen if the promise will be delivered in 90 days. But there still questions one would wish to ask: what causes the delay of the government salaries and what is the institution concerned doing about it?

Only one Hon Aggrey Tisa Sabuni has the answers!

Andrew A. Niknora works in Rumbek. He can be reached at ajueclooth@gmail.com.


  1. Bhanyker says:

    Very interesting article. What is happening in South Sudan is increasingly disturbing indeed. President Kiir said on many occasions, Zero Corruption. The Question is, does Mr President understand the word Zero or not? Mr. President’s zero means nothing. If you really understand the word zero, Mr President, then what made it so difficult to identify the reason behind the delaying tactics of civil servants payments?
    With your ultimate powers there is no doubt you can sack the criminals once you identify them. As you did previously, as consequences, your zero tolerance on corruption will be firmly understood by civil servant and the public at large. But it seems to be very difficult to fight the corruption when you’re initially involved in it. The president is afraid if he makes any move against those corrupt officials, different cases might come up which could drag him into corruption front line again. As it happened before.

    On other hand, we can blame the new ministers. These employees had been given 3 months temporary contract and they accepted it. Therefore they’re all afraid, unsure whether they may complete 3 months or not. They are not working according to their qualifications. They always go back and ask Benydit, shall we do this and that, sir?
    But there is something these new ministers do not understand, the president is empty minded who could not produce ideas. My blame will go to those who gave this seemingly addicted President absolute power.

    • Albinodit says:

      Mr. Bhanyker.
      For your information, the president is not the minister of Finance. let us begin to understand who does what and how in the government. I can see many people are using the president as a camouflage to deny their own failures. this is not good. you are claiming that the president is corrupt, if I challenge you now to present your evidences against him, will you be able? I don’t think so. this is abuse of FREEDOM.

      • GatCharwearbol says:

        Dear Albinodit;
        The responders here are all intellectuals and know exactly what is taking place in their surroundings. Aware they are that President is not the finance minister. But what you fail to realize is that in South Sudan or in a country govern by a dictator, the President is the finance minister and sole decision maker. Stating different would be to underestimate Kiir Mayardit’s dictatorship madness and evilness.

        Shifting the onus to toothless finance minister here would tantamount to not being aware of the culture and norm of dictatorship style. Permission must be given by Kiir first before the finance minister can do anything unless if he (The Finance Minister) doesn’t want his or her only source of holy bread anymore. Please try to study how things work in South Sudan and particularly, how Kiir Mayardit does business. Take care, pal!

  2. AJ says:

    dear comrade Nikinora,
    Thanks for posting an interesting topic and not many in this forum have not touched a lot. It’s really sickening me to hear that salaries of the south Sudan public workers do not get paid on time particularly security members such as police, army and other organs that provide vital security to our civilians. More over, that those who save lives in hospitals like Nurses, doctors and supporting staff need to be a priority for the government to improve standard of living.

    The reason why there are so many night robberies in Juba and road hijackers on most feeders roads connecting Juba with the rest of country are on the rise. The lack of remitting to workers cause a lot of frustration and hence people resorted into short term solutions to survive by doing anything to feed their families.

    I have witness it with my naked eyes, teachers, police, wildlife and others who have borrowed to drink local kwete, Lokile, and beers and they will pay when they get paid but the truth is, when you borrow more than what you earn, you basically work for free. Remember, the nature or the habits of borrowing and paying in later dates could really hurt if one is married and bother partners borrowing and worst of it, only one member is sole provider or working.

    People will get tired of this habit and government is to blame for such incompetence to deliver. I also see those who work for NGOs are much happier than those who work for government. The difference is simple, NGOs employees get paid on time even if the person is not present during payday or week, his or her wages/salary will be there.

    So, this finance minister is nothing but Kiir spokesperson of Finance. Kiir can Cash any $$$$$$ at any time if he needs it without finances minister involvement. Good example is $600M he and Teler, concubine lawyer withdrew without informing finance department and parliament.


    • majongdit says:

      Dear AJ,
      This is surely a public concern. I share the same sentiments as you.
      However, I don’t blame the President but the ministers who don’t do their jobs. The service they promise to give is never given at all.
      President Salva has been confused by people. They tell him to do this and then they tell him to do that. They tell him to bring this as a minister and tomorrow they tell him bring again this one. They all fail in delivering to the public what they are supposed to deliver.
      The issue of the payment of government salaries have remained unresolved from the reign of several finance ministers from Arthur Akuen to Tisa Sabuni now.

      • Aj says:

        Good to hear that, majongdit, and that’s why I blamed the government. Finance minister is member of government led by Kiir. Therefore, don’t say Kiir is not a problem and he shouldn’t be blamed. Finance ministers come and go but the president has seen a lot of bad things and he should be held for failing to deliver.

  3. AW Joseph says:

    The former Sudanese Prime Minister Sadig Al Mahdi was right in a BBC NEWS interview in the 80s in his PROPHECY that if Sudan was divided into two, the South would not be able to govern itself. Since the DINKA SPLM took control of South Sudan they have been embroiled in controversies, making numerous excuses and even blaming Khartoum for every thing.

    Now South Sudan is an Independent Country that means we are responsible for ourselves. The Dinka SPLM government receives billions of Dollars from the sale of oil, The Dinka SPLM government prints its own currency and collects taxes from the Citizens. Questions are been asked which Salva Kiir has to answer:

    Why are our Teachers, Doctors, Civil servants, Police and Army not being paid on time?
    Why are our veterans, Disabled soldiers, orphans and widows being forgotten and not being looked after?
    Why are there no good schools, hospitals, roads etc…..??????

    Dinka are the problem. They are greedy, have no shame and no feelings for others. They even have forgotten that South Sudan belongs to all of us.

    In ROSS, corruption is systemic, deep and metastasising throughout every crevice of our country. The one sure sanitizing path to eradicating this vile institutionalized practice is to remove the current government from power. Very unfortunately “elections” have yielded the same undesirable results over and over again.

    • bolabokdit says:

      Mr. AW Joseph
      This forum is created for intellectual discussion not for tribalism. Your attitude toward Kiir and Dinka in general are unpredictable and baseless. I give credit to those who criticize Kiir policies not because he is from certain region/ tribe but because they have right as citizens of southern Sudan. We have to encourage peaceful and intellectual debate which will improve current leaders in the government or those who will come after.
      In case of your master Sadiq El Mahadi prophecy that you believe in it, I will tell you that those who learn through bitter repeated experience IN THE HANDS OF JALLABAS have difficulty of translating ideas in to realities. The whole idea of your master was to germinate seed of tribalism specially on the mind of weak people and that would result in instability of the South Sudan. Express your ideas and be positive to your people, I don’t care about government

    • J.Chin Jacob says:

      AW Joseph,

      You are real sick and wicked indeed!
      Don’t you have a heart to appreciate Dinka who have saved you from Arab’s oppression & slavery, if I were a failed-Kokora-creature like you, I would’ve chosen to praise Dinka who’ve willingly and patriotically obligated to redeem the entire Southerners from Arabs’ well known marginalization to the current freedom and it’s due to the fact that we Dinka have this kind of belief that we’re born-independent and we can remain independent in order to manage our own Nation independently.
      Please learn to be self-esteemed-human and forget fake-Arab’s usual propaganda and false excuses.
      Otherwise you are wrong by jumping into a conclusion about your so called good system when you don’t know where you will find an Institution where you will install your so called good system.
      Build your house first then go for whatever you wanted to install in and that is what we have done exactly, we have brought South Sudan to be recognised first and we will bring whatever is lacking in gradually but it is not through your unnecessary noise and nonsensical posts as whistle-blowers.
      And FYI, South Sudan was brought to be a sovereign State by Deng, Garang, Bol, Diing and many other Dinka and it must be managed/led & developed by the same people because we truly deserve it instead of self-proclaimed-puppet managers such as Kokora Activist like YOU.

  4. AW Joseph says:

    Mr Bolabokdit
    I personally hate having argument with an individual. But I have this to say if you yourself can not distinguish between the actions of the government of Sudan and the ordinary Sudanese people (Arabs or Jallabas), why on earth should I separate the actions of the government of South Sudan from Salva Kiir & Dinka?
    I have to remind you that during the KOKORA in 1983, Equatorians never had any problems with Arabs, Nuer, Shilluk, etc……. But you Dinka were the problem in former United Sudan that let the Equatorians to kick you out of Equatoria and are now the problem in independent South Sudan and will continue to be so for ever. If Salva is a Dinka king that shouldn’t be criticized, that is your problem.
    If you call yourself an intellectual which I doubt then please explain or help solve the mystery of why government salaries are not being paid or not paid on time instead of defending the indefensible.

    • bolabokdit says:

      Mr. AW Joseph
      Are you sure I am a dinka? which factors did you use for guessing my tribe? Hundred of thousands of people are defending government in Southern Sudan and they are not Dinkas. Any way I will not blame you since you are addicted to tribalism you will not believe non-Dinka can defend government. Sincerely there are Dinkas who like Kiir very much as a person but they don’t want the way he handles leadership. How can we categorize such people? We called them Equatorian, Shilluk, Nuer, Anyuak or Murle. I don’t think it is right.
      Put in your mind that I am not against people who criticize government but I am opposing people who label individuals as Dinka, Nuer, Equatoria etc. it is not rewarding us in Southern Sudan.

  5. AW Joseph says:

    J. Chin Jacob
    I am not sick and wicked. The sick and wicked are DINKA & SALVA KIIR who are corrupt, greedy, selfish, robbers, killers, thieves, lacks social etiquettes, oppressors of their own people whom they claim to have liberated or saved, you name it…………….. By the way why don’t you Dinka go back to where you come from if people in Equatoria do not like or talk ill of you??????????????
    If you are liberator, independent person and saviour please explain or help solve the mystery of why government salaries are not being paid or not paid on time instead of defending the indefensible.

  6. Gatchuonyang says:

    Unwanted Kiir is the right person to answer the mystery of why the government salaries are not being paid on time.

  7. majongdit says:

    AW Joseph,
    Please note it also that its not Dinka tribe that pays salaries.
    You always make your arguement quite so blunt.

  8. Bhanyker says:

    Mr: Albinodit.
    The crimes committed by your uncle Kiir are undeniable. You said you want to inform me, while you’re ill informed. Mr. Albinodit. if you’re really well informed, you would have known what is happening in the country. You said your uncle is not corrupt. Where were you when your uncle Kiir came out and announced that he had stolen 4 billion USD?. Your uncle Kiir with Taler Riing Deng, had stolen 600 million USD. What evidences you need? unless you’re waiting for your uncle Kiir to steal a trillion, that will be enough evidence for you. Is it?

  9. OneNationforAll says:

    My heart bleeds and I can foresee a bleeding country in a near future. No one, I said, No one, or tribe is entitled, nor is there any single tribe that had liberated south sudan. Such careless utterance will kill your mom, your relatives, I warn you. We fought Jallaba, never never to be marginalized. What is happening in South Sudan is unbelievable beyond words. Only blind & naive cannot see death & destruction looming about.

  10. cityboy says:

    my friends, don’t abuse your leaders. kiir is not the cause of every thing that’s happening in this country. i would like you to know that mr salva kiir is like the man who has ten children so among ten, two or three disobey their dad’s rules and become thieves.
    therefore the public can not blame kiir about the civil servants’ salaries delayment because mr kiir had already distributed the work to ministers. so if mr finance minister fails to do his work then why should we blame president instead of mr Tissa Sabuni.

  11. musonda jonas says:

    lets us see what finance staffs to be for filled

  12. musonda jonas says:

    me I can’t blame the government because there is a lot to do for us and every one wants to benefit so we need extremely Harding working inevitably

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