South Sudan to shut down embassies over arrears

South Sudan to shut down embassies over arrears

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ramadan Goc. [Photo: courtesy]

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ramadan Goc, said the government is planning to scale down the number of embassies upon clearing the arrears owed to some diplomats.

Goc told the National Assembly during the deliberation on the president’s speech in Juba on Tuesday that the move would help in reducing unnecessary expenditure to ease the pressure on the government.

“Our problem in the ministry of Foreign Affairs is the issue of arrears in terms of salaries to our communities who are abroad and payment of rent for our embassies and residence for our ambassadors,” he stated.

“We don’t own one building that we can call the embassy of the Republic of South Sudan, we don’t have anything, we are renting,” he added.

He said the missions have not received funds to enable them to clear their rent arrears.

“Starting from the year 2019, our ambassadors and all our staff in the missions were only paid three times a year so the arrears of nine months of 2019 have not been paid until today. For the year 2020, they were paid once a year, they have 11 months without having been paid,” he stated.  

 “For 2021, thanks to the former minister of finance, it was cleared. For 2022, there are three months without pay. Last year, in 2023, they had eight months without being paid and this year, already five months.”

He added that the workers have a genuine reason because they have sacrificed to sustain the missions even with the piling salary arrears.

“How can you send people outside for four years without being paid? They are human beings; I need the contribution of everyone to solve this problem,” he appealed.  

He added: “As the ministry of foreign affairs, if this money is paid, what we will do is to downsize because in some embassies, there is nothing that we have to spend more money on like in Eritrea.”

According to him, the country only has 30 embassies and two missions in New York and UAE.