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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South Sudan parliament passes budget for next fiscal year

JUBA, (Xinhua) -- The South Sudan parliament late Monday approved a 299.9 million U.S. dollar budget for the 2017/18 fiscal year following a month-long debate.

The budget is 54 million dollars higher than the FY 2016-17.

Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau told Parliament that 191 million U.S. dollar is available to fund the budget, leaving a deficit of 108 million dollars.

The key priority areas for the government will be spending on salaries and transfers which constituted 62 percent of the budget, increased funding for peace initiatives and the agriculture sector.

War-torn South Sudan depends on oil export for 98 percent of its revenue, but production reduced significantly due to the civil war that erupted in December 2013, causing most oilfields in the country’s oil-rich northern region to shut down.

The East African nation is currently struggling with hyper inflation amid shortage of foreign reserves to support its import-dependent economy.

The finance minister said the net oil revenue available to fund the 2017-18 is estimated at 166 million dollars, which is just 20 percent of the country’s gross revenue.

Dau said the deficit would be covered by implementing the 2017-2018 Tax Amendment Bill which proposes new measures to boost non-oil revenue collection, tougher financial regulations and increased borrowing from Treasury Bills.

The new targets include increasing airport departure tax from 20 dollars to 30 dollars, raising sole proprietor income tax by 5 percent and establishing a revenue authority to reform tax collection and public financial management.

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