SPLM-IO wants House stalemate resolved before tabling the budget

SPLM-IO wants House stalemate resolved before tabling the budget
The Speaker of the R-TNLA, Jemma Nunu Kumba. [Photo: courtesy]

The Sudan People’s Movement in Opposition (SPLM/IO) has urged the minister of finance to delay the presentation of the 2022–2023 national budget until the impasse at the assembly is resolved.

In an interview with The City Review yesterday, Oyet Nathaniel, the first deputy speaker of the parliament appointed on the SPLM/A-IO ticket noted that the budget is a very important bill that requires full participation of parties represented by their members in the parliament.

He added that the meeting of the two principals within the presidency is essential to ending the stalemate in parliament.

According to Oyet, the parliament does not currently have a full quorum in the absence of the SPLM/A-IO; hence, there can be no significant participation from parties to the agreement.

He said whatever the parliament is doing right now is a breach of spirit and text of the agreement, which reconstituted the parliament itself, as well as the trust and confidence of the agreement.

And according to Oyet, any attempt to introduce the budget while there is still a divided parliament would be improper.

He added, “It further kills the spirit of partnership, the spirit of the government of national unity.

“We don’t expect the budget to be tabled without the participation of SPLM-IO and other political parties’ members.”

“The Minister of Finance should wait for the parliament to short out its internal and procedural matters and should urge the presidency to expedite the resolution of stalemate in parliament before the tabling of the budget.”

 “We are not now in parliament. It will be like any other sitting done in violation of the spirit of consensus and the spirit of the revitalised government of national unity. It will make no difference, but we are not going to join the sitting unless we have resolved the outstanding matters,” he stressed.

Oyet commended the Ministry of Finance for making sure the budget was presented on time, noting that this was one of the recommendations the parliament had taken into consideration for the prior budget for 2021–2022.

“We wanted this budget to be tabled on its due date according to the financial year calendar,’’ he said.

All bills adopted by the assembly are taken President Salva Kiir for approval. However, Oyet urged President Kiir not to sign the bills that were passed without consensus arguing the House was divided.

“There is no consensus, there is disagreement over the bills, and moreover, such bills are critical for the implementation of the peace agreement,” said Oyet.

“We still appeal to the President not to assent to such bills but to return the bills back to the house.” We welcome the clarification by NCAC and RJMEC as a positive development. This can inform the decision of the presidency to resolve the stalemate in parliament.”

The SPLM and other parties to the agreement continue to legislate bills drafted by the National Constitutional Amendment Committee without their counterpart, the SPLM-IO.

Members of NCAC are drawn from the various political parties that signed the revitalized peace accord. They come to an agreement and draft bills for the parliament to consider.

The senior member of the SPLM-IO asserted that the current parliament was not a typical one and that anything they did without adhering to the spirit of consensus outlined in the revitalized agreement equates to bridging its spirit and text with the trust that the parties had established since the agreement’s signing in 2018.

 “We don’t accept those bills that are passed with alterations,” he said.

The SPLM-IO parliamentary caucus is protesting changes made to bills that amend the Wildlife Service Act, the Permanent Constitution Making Process, and the Political Parties Act. However, the SPLM-IG has chided their counterparts for the boycott but argued that it was inconsequential because the rules allow the sittings to proceed with a third of the House. 

The speaker of the TNLA, Jemma Nunu Kumba, made the announcement on Monday that the new national draft budget would be presented to the house this week. She urged lawmakers to complete the remaining bills before the budget.