South Sudan on Friday said that conflicts and COVID-19 pandemic were to blame for declining economic growth in the country.
Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said inter-communal skirmishes, natural disasters, desert locust invasion and volatility in the global oil market had slowed down economic growth.
“What causes the downfall of the economy is due to four issues, one is civil war which reigned for five years and now six, second is COVID-19, third is natural disasters such as desert locust and floods, but the economy has been hampered much by the COVD-19 rather by war itself,” Garang told reporters in Juba.
He said the government has been running the country on a budget deficit as a result of poor non-oil revenues collection, adding that his ministry has formed an economic cluster to tackle the irregularities in non-oil revenues sector.
“Also tax revenues were significantly affected because of the closure of borders and business with neighboring countries become very slow or at least only relief items were allowed to come,” said Garang.
He said that graft and weak tax collections management system had also hampered efforts to revive the economy.
South Sudan said in August it was seeking 250 million U. S. dollars loan from African Export and Import Bank to cushion the economy from disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The central government in Juba said in July that oil production had dropped to 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 185,000 bpd due to disruptions occasioned by COVID-19 disease.
Statistics from the Ministry of Petroleum indicate that production in Upper Nile reduced from 130,000 bpd to 120,000 bpd and in Unity state, it dropped from 60,000 to 50,000 bpd.