JUBA Dec 2 South Sudan's parliament passed a
38-billion-pound budget on Friday but about 40 percent of that
is unfunded and the government will ask foreign donors for the
money, the finance minister said.
Three years of conflict and tumbling crude production and
prices have hammered oil-producing South Sudan's economy.
Inflation has shot to 835 percent in the year to October, while
the official value of the pound has plummeted to 70 to the
dollar. Black market rates are even higher.
"We will be approaching our friends, partners and the donors
to fill the gaps, this is what I am expecting because we are
talking to the IMF," Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau told
reporters after a parliamentary session in Juba.
The draft budget figures for 2016/17 had forecast spending
of 29.6 billion pounds.
The budget approved by parliament saw that rise to 38
billion pounds, with nearly 220 million dollars unfunded.
Parliament directed the government to hike the wages of
civil servants to keep pace with price increases.
But the warm relations South Sudan enjoyed with Western
donors after it gained independence from Sudan in 2011 have
cooled. The United States has led international condemnation of
the government for failing to halt corruption and violence.
The world's newest country has been ravaged by war since
December 2013 when soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir
clashed in the capital Juba with troops loyal to his former
deputy Riek Machar.
A shaky peace deal was agreed a year ago, but it is
frequently violated and on Thursday the U.N. said ethnic
cleansing in the conflict could lead to genocide.
Washington has pushed for U.N. sanctions and an arms
embargo, but has not secured enough votes at the U.N. Security
Previously, the aid-reliant nation has turned to Chinese
companies to help fund budget shortfalls, offering to pay for
them with future oil proceeds.
In August, the government announced it was seeking a $1.9
billion loan from China but there was no public response.
(Writing by Edmund Blair and Katharine Houreld; Editing by