The South Sudan National Assembly (SSNA) yesterday passed the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group Institutions Bill 2011 from its second reading to final stage.
The ratification of the bill to the third stage came amid a South Sudanese delegation headed by President Salva Kiir left to Washington DC late last week to attend an International Engagement Conference. The conference will give the country an opportunity to showcase its economic development areas for assistance.
However, South Sudan has limited chances of being supported with the world giant money lenders if it is not a member to one of them such as the World Bank, IMF among others.
The bill which was presented in its second reading by Hon. James Reat was read to the August House last week as an urgent matter and that the President demands the House to quickly pass it.
However, some MPs opposed it in what they termed as “a rush” to ratify the bill.
A heated debate engulfed the House with some of the MPs demanding the presence of the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning on grounds that, they demanded technical explanation on some of the dealings with the World Bank.
Some MPs expressed fears that rushing to ratify the bill will jeopardise South Sudan of being indebted without examining its dealings with the World Bank as an International Finance Institution.
However, Hon. Mary Kiden Kimbo from Kajokeji Town Constituency and Mark Nyipoch from Western Bar El Ghazal State later convinced the House after pointing out areas in what their counterparts expected to be a problem if they joined the Bank.
“The problem is not joining the World Bank or subscription to the Bank. The matter is the projects which we will sign in this Assembly. We must see into it that they must be income generating projects,” said Mr. Nyipoch.
“Once we join the World Bank we have to decide whether the bank should build for us Ramciel (the new proposed capital city) then for sure we will be indebted because building Ramciel will not give us money but if we say we want to build “Fula” (the proposed national dam) or we want to extract our minerals then we will go into partnership and we will then be alright,” explained Mary Kiden.
“Because now even if we go to the Chinese and urge them to come and build for us, they will first ask us which body of the world are you members to? They will not give us money unless they are sure of another body that makes us disciplined,” she added.
She also stressed that joining the Bank will be one of the ways to fight corruption in the country. South Sudan will be controlled and disciplined financially in the international scene if it misbehaves.
“We have been so indiscipline for the last six years until a ministry can spend over its budget by 400%. If we are a member of the World Bank we will start learning to be in our shoes. We have to be disciplined. For the Executive to be disciplined let us allow them to go to the World Bank,” Kiden stressed
After the house agreed unanimously, the SSNA House Controller Hon. Atem Garang then proposed for a motion to pass the bill into its third reading. The bill was then passed for its third reading for deliberations and then into fourth and final reading.
Hon. Daneil Awet, the First Deputy SSNA Speaker chairing the quorum later urged the parliamentarians to still be cautious and read the treaties of the World Bank. He stressed that enacting the bill is not enough.