Allocate funds for peace agreement-Activist tells Parliament

Allocate funds for peace agreement-Activist tells Parliament
CEPO’s Edmund Yakani in a recent press conference. [File photo]

​The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) wants the national parliament to allocate appropriate funds for the effective implementation of the peace agreement.

The Cabinet approved the historic SSP 1.3 trillion budget for the financial year 2022/23 in June this year.

The initial budget proposal was for SSP 862 billion in May, and the cabinet later amended it to SSP 1.3 trillion as a result of a directive from the Council of Ministers that the ministry of finance meet with the undersecretaries of the relevant institutions to ensure further discussions and make the necessary changes.

The proposed budget is set to be presented to parliament this week for further discussion.

Edmond Yakani – CEPO Executive Director urged the lawmakers to allocate enough funds for the implementation of the tasks of chapters 2, 5, and 6 of the agreement.

“The budget must focus on the graduation of unified forces, the delivery of necessary financial reform, the constitution, and the election-making process. We believe those are key milestones in terms of the fate of the revitalized peace agreement,” Yakani emphasized.

He added: “Ten per cent of the budget should be allocated for agriculture. We have seen several alarms coming from various UN agencies that our country is expecting looming hunger or famine.

“So, I think it’s high time for our government to invest part of our national budget at least 10 percent to be given to agriculture because agriculture can multiply access to income sources.”

“Another expectation we want our budget to be, the budget should be inclusive of the needs and concerns of people with disabilities.” We don’t want to see a budget that is salient for responding to the needs and concerns of people with disabilities. ” the activist emphasized.

The activist has also urged the lawmakers to​​ hold a public hearing on the budget and to consider it in accordance with the ideas of fair wealth distribution.

But I would also like to urge our leaders to ensure that when they debate the budget in parliament, they do so on the basis of equitable wealth distribution, because some areas of the country are in worse shape than others and require more financial assistance, said Yakani.

“We are also appealing to the parliament, especially the public finance account committee, to organize a public hearing on the national budget and to open up their doors to accept opinions from citizens around the enactment of the national budget.” He appealed.

The new national budget is a raise of SSP 575 billion from the previous SSP 338 million budget for 2021-2022, which was approved by parliament in mid-March 2022.

Funding the implementation of the peace agreement and agriculture and food security are the priorities of the new budget in order to address the impending hunger in the country as well as the effects of the war in Ukraine, Michael Makuei, the minister of information, told reporters in June.