South Sudan: State Assembly Members Meet to Train on Building Transparent and Sustainable Non-Oil Revenue Generation Systems
A workshop on building transparent and sustainable non-oil revenue generation systems at state levels, and the role of the State Legislative Assemblies opened today in Juba. The workshop is part of UNDP’s multi-year effort, supported by the Government of Japan, to strengthen the ability of state governments to move towards non-oil revenues, sustainably expand the domestic resource base, and efficiently allocate these resources in a transparent and equitable manner for service delivery.
In her keynote remarks, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. Mary Jervase Yak, acknowledged the support of the Government of Japan to the public financial management system in the country. She stated that South Sudan still faces challenges in the effective management of her financial resources and that state governments are unable to mobilize sufficient revenues, budget execution remains difficult and there are shortcomings in terms of transparency and the expected results.
Hon. Mary added, “Improved public service delivery in a post-conflict environment, including the provision of education, healthcare and sanitation, depends on the transparent and efficient management of public finances.”
Jubek State Minister of Finance Hon. John Ijino Lako, welcomed the participants to “this very important workshop aimed [at] building a sustainable non-oil revenue generation system at subnational government levels to address the vertical imbalance between the service delivery responsibilities and [fiscal] resources [available for] the subnational governments for [such] service delivery.”
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Eugene Owusu, stated that an improved non-oil tax system is a shout out for a new deal, a new social contract, and an opportunity for every South Sudanese to take a shot at a decent livelihood. Mr. Eugene further emphasized that improving non-oil revenue, state tax system is crucial, not just for the personal, material and economic well-being of the states; it must promote opportunity, lift up the weak, strengthen the family, and perhaps most importantly it must be rooted in that unique South Sudanese spirit- fight for fairness, equity and equality.
Mr. Owusu expressed confidence that “under the able leadership of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, we [UNDP] will do the hard but right thing to lay a firm foundation to contribute to empowering people and building resilient communities for a prosperous South Sudan.”
Mr. Hamano Shigeru, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Japan in South Sudan, by way of sharing experiences of Japan in setting up tax systems, expressed his government’s commitment to supporting South Sudan in its efforts to move away from dependence on oil revenues and attain sustainable economic growth.
“Japan started collecting taxes from citizens at a very early stage of the nation’s history. It was actually the tax system that helped leadership of Japan not only build economic infrastructure or deliver social services, but also gain a big picture of increasing national wealth and hard power, rendering Japan a world’s leading economy subsequently,” said Mr. Hamano, adding that “Since revenue from natural endowment such as oil is to be regarded as something like a bonus or windfall, the steps South Sudan has taken with us today to secure collection of revenues from other sources is in the right direction. Such collective efforts by locals, although they may take time to produce a desirable outcome, shall be met with the assistance from the Government of Japan in cooperation with UNDP.”
The workshop acknowledged participation of Rt. Hon. Speakers from Jubek, Gbudue, Aweil and Yei River State Legislative Assemblies, Hon. Chairpersons of the Specialized Committees of the State Assemblies, and Hon. Members of the Public Accounts Committees.