Western donors needed to fund budget ‘unlikely’
WAR-RAVAGED South Sudan needs donors to fund more than a third of its next budget, the finance minister said, but countries are reluctant due to corruption and conflict. Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau presented a 46.5 billion South Sudan Pound (SSP) (R4 billion) budget for 2017-2018 to ambassadors on Thursday, ahead of a presentation to parliament this month. “The budget is expected to exceed available resources by SSP 16.8 billion… to be provided by donor countries,” Dhieu said. The financial year ends on July 31. South Sudan is riven by civil war and more than a quarter of its 12 million population have fled their homes. Public servants and soldiers go unpaid for months and hyperinflation renders the money almost worthless. South Sudan’s leaders and their families have amassed great wealth during the conflict, according to a report by US advocacy group The Sentry, which was co-founded by actor George Clooney. The government denied the findings. The United Nations has said ethnic cleansing in the conflict could lead to genocide. Those concerns mean Western donors are unlikely to step forward.