30 September, Juba – Today the Ministry of Finance and Planning (MoFP) and the National Revenue Authority, launched the United Nations Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund Programme to strengthen national and subnational Public Financial Management (PFM) mechanisms in South Sudan, together with the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office, UNDP and UNICEF, the two implementing UN agencies. The purpose of the Joint Programme is to increase budget allocations to social service sectors. Allocating greater resources to critical social services and ensuring their efficient, effective and transparent utilization will strengthen resilience, social cohesion and benefit all people, especially the most vulnerable children and women.
“The Joint Programme will contribute to the realization of the South Sudan National Development Strategy (NDS) which calls for intensifying non-oil revenue mobilization, as well as to operationalizing institutional mechanism to promote citizen engagement and participation, as critical pathways to sustainable development,” said Minister of Finance and Planning H.E. Athian Ding Athian.
Public budget allocations to social sectors remain low in South Sudan, with in 2019/20 only 1% of public spending going to health, 5% to education and 2% to social and humanitarian affairs. The NDS aims to ensure that 15% of South Sudan’s National Budget are allocated to social services.
“As demonstrated during the 2008 financial crisis, countries with strong social protection systems suffered the least and recovered the fastest. More national budget allocations are required for a national social protection programme as a central policy for COVID-19 to protect the most vulnerable and children and women of South Sudan, during recurring stresses and shocks,” said Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare H.E. Ayaa Benjamin Warille.
The Joint Programme will run from 2020-2022 and is supported financially by the Joint UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund, UNDP and UNICEF. The Joint SDG Fund supports countries to accelerate their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to deliver on the commitment of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.
“As the country prepares for reopening of schools, we need to prioritize education in the upcoming national budget, in order to make quality education a reality for all children in South Sudan,” said the Hon. Undersecretary for education H.E. Kyok Abol Kyok.
The Joint Programme in South Sudan aims to ensure by 2022 a 2% increase in budget allocation to national priorities and social services which work toward the achievement of the SDGs.
By 2030, the Joint Programme (JP) will contribute to 15% budget allocation and expenditure increase to national priorities and social services, and by 2022, to 22 strengthened and gender-responsive Public Financing Management (PFM) institutions at national and subnational levels especially targeting Central Equatoria, Western Equatoria and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states.
“COVID-19 shows how important it is for South Sudan to strengthen its public financial management institutions, in order to tackle economic shocks better in the future and to enable investments in social sectors that ensure the achievement of the SDGs, including in the health system. It is vital government institutions provide basic social services as reflection of the needs of its citizens. In tandem with the response to COVID- 19, strengthening public accountability institutions in South Sudan is an integral part of building back a better and more resilient South Sudan,” said Mr. Alain Noudehou, UN Resident Coordinator.