IMF grant acid test for accountability, says Ngor
The $112.7 million (SSP68 billion) US grant from the International Monetary Fund will present yet another test for the South Sudanese financial management system.
According to the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dier Tong Ngor, the lender’s commitment signals another season of trust for the country’s level of financial management and accountability.
“They have now issued a statement standing with us and committing that they will be cooperating with us,” he said.
“They are testing us out again…”We have agreed that they will give us additional financing of about $112 million (SSP68 billion) as a starting point, and of course, this will be subject to the approval by the board of directors of the IMF early in January,” Ngor added.
He said the new grant was a result of the IMF’s October meetings with the ministry of finance during their recent visit to Juba.
Ngor made the statement on Thursday during the 6th Governors’ Forum in Juba, adding the lender had been cooperating with the government since the beginning of the year.
“We got $52 million from the IMF, which we call the Rapid Credit Facility, for which we were paid. We were also paid $184 million. “Of course, these resources were given to us at very reasonable rates on the condition that we are transparent [in] how we implement or spend them,” he said, adding that the auditors had given the expenditure a clean bill of health.
The minister said South Sudan had not been preparing its financial statements since independence, and rectifying this was a strenuous venture.
“We are working on that now, and we have compiled three years’ worth of financial statements that we are sending to the office of the Auditor General so that they are audited. At the same time, we are preparing for the coming years.”
“We have experts that have supported us in this and I hope we will make progress so that the books of our government are audited and are proper,” he said.
The finance minister said the salary arrears are some of the major challenges facing the ministry, adding that most of the claims that are brought to them are on a budget.
He hinted that there are people who have claims for 2011, 2012, and 2013 noting that they are working to identify and verify whether those claims are genuine or not so that they are budgeted for.
Edmund Yakani, Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), stated in a press release yesterday that the IMF grant of $112.7 million should be used properly and transparently to meet the best interests of the citizens.