Accountability and food security top N. Bahr el Ghazal priorities
By Julius N. Uma
August 15, 2011 (AWEIL) – State officials in Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBG), working in partnership with various stakeholders on Monday pledged their full commitment to enhancing food security and public accountability as part of the government’s recently-initiated South Sudan Development Plan (SSDP).
Ronald Ruay Deng, the Northern Bahr el Ghazal state minister for finance, trade and industry, 15 August, 2011 (ST)
The plan, which covers the period 2011-2013, was developed by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic development as a transitional medium term strategy for security, development, economic growth, and poverty reduction.
As part of its implementation, the southern government will reportedly take the lead in all pillars of the SSDP, while development partners will act as co-leaders, based on an agreed structure for the budget management and allocations for the key priority needs of the population.
While speaking during a stakeholders’ planning workshop held in Aweil, the state capital, Ronald Ruay Deng, the state minister for finance, trade and industry, outlined some of the key state priorities, saying the state remains committed to supporting the national government to achieve the needs of the citizens.
“When we got our independence recently, many people thought that was all,” said Ruay but noted that “we still have lots of challenges”.
Since 2005, the minister said, NBG has been prone to poverty, border insecurity, and poor health service delivery, inadequate education and unpredictable floods. He appealed to development partners to assist the state government in efforts to improve food security through increased farm productivity.
Ruay cited a recent held peace conference between-Dinka Malual-Rezigat and Misseriya tribes.
In a related development, Sabrino Majok Majok, the director general in the state ministry of finance, trade and industry said NBG has already put in place appropriate policies and regulations to attract potential investors in the region.
Majok cited the state revenue authority, which enacted the much-hyped tax policies and procedures, with the setting in place of the electronic public finance management system. Remarkable achievements, he added, have reportedly been made in the health, education, infrastructure, governance, economy, agricultural, livestock and fisheries sectors within the state.
NBG is currently in the process of the final review of it’s five-year state policy and strategic objectives, which aimed at creating an economically sound, financially transparent, sustainable democratic institutions, self-reliant, peaceful and prosperous state economy.
With a population estimated at nearly two million, NBG is one of the most densely populated states in South Sudan. Mainly regarded as largely agro-pastoral, the region borders South Darfur to the north, Western Bahr El Ghazal to the south west, Warrap and the oil-producing Abyei area to the East.
Also present at the five-day workshop, organized by the state Ministry of Finance, Trade and Industry were state ministers Stephen Chol Ajongo (Ministry of Education), Bona Makuac (Ministry of Information and Communication), the state’s Secretary General, Peter Kout Kout, Wek Kuc Deng, Chairperson for the state Anti-Corruption Commission, UN partners and representatives from non-governmental organisations.