Makur defends Bak, says minister misquoted in salary issue

Makur defends Bak, says minister misquoted in salary issue

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning, Agok Makur, denied claims that the national government was facing challenges trying to sustain the 400 percent salary increment passed by the national parliament.

Makur said that the statement recently made by his boss, Dr Bak Barnaba Chol, was about the states and administrative areas, which are struggling to maintain the new wage structure due to a lack of resources.

 “I need to clarify that this 400 per cent increment is not the Ministry of Finance and Planning doing it. It was passed by the council of Ministers and the National Assembly, so it became a must. But what I want to make clear is that the minister was talking to the states and not the national government,” Makur explained.

He said Dr Bak made the statement while addressing the state finance ministers and three administrative areas.

“During the meeting of the ministries of finance in the states, he was talking about 400 percent and this 400 per cent is divided among the states and was not talking about the national levels.”

Makur highlighted that his boss had transferred money in two batches known as grant money.

He added, “there are two types of transfers, block account transfers and condition transfers, with condition transfers intended for six ministries at the state level.”

Makur revealed that prior to the increment, the national Ministry of Finance and Planning had transferred SSP 25 billion for the entire states and the three administrative areas.

“After the increment, we increase this block account from SSP 25 billion to SSP 28 billion because we need those states and administrative areas to sit down with their assembly to adjust the salary to a 400 percent increment. So, this is what my ministry needs to clarify,” Makur explained.

He added that when the minister talked about the challenges to implementing the increment, he did not mean that he was going to walk away from the approved 400 per cent increment.

On Monday, the first deputy speaker of the August House, Oyet Nathaniel, said that the House was waiting to summon the minister of finance to answer questions about his statement.

“We are going to summon the minister immediately when we open the parliament to come and explain where the money from the oil and the non-oil revenue is. What the minister is saying, we don’t believe it,” Oyet told The Review in an exclusive interview.

Oyet added that the Parliament could not understand what Dr Bak meant when he said the 400 per cent salary increment passed was unsustainable.

According to Oyet, the lawmakers have credible information on how the government is receiving steady revenue from the oil, which, when budgeted properly, would ensure that all the salaries of civil servants and organised forces are paid on time.