Speaking during the swearing-in of new Finance minister, Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, on Wednesday President Kiir said the value of the South Sudanese pound keeps deteriorating, rendering the economy stagnant.
He said the leaders of the country have to think of ways of improving the productive base of the economy if the local currency can regain its lost value.
Referring to the ongoing conflict with rebels led by his former vice-president Riek Machar as the reason for the country’s economic stagnation, Kiir said: “That [attempted] forceful takeover of power brought us now to this stage where we have no money in our bank, we have nothing and so we have become a laughing stock worldwide,”
He instructed Garang to work in collaboration with other ministers to fix the country’s shortage of foreign exchange.
“This is a challenge that is ahead of you and you must think how to get out of this” Kiir told Garang who was appointed on Monday evening according to a presidential decree to that effect.
He succeeds Stephen Dhieu Dau, who had held the position since 2016.
It is not clear why the central bank had run out of money.
However, several international research groups recently reported that the country’s main source of revenue –oil – is being diverted to fund military operations, with limited “oversight and accountability”.
A UK-based research group says the economic drivers of South Sudan’s conflict, including the oil sector, should be the focus of the next revitalization forum that is expected take place this month.
The Global Witness said the country’s main source of revenue is being diverted to funding military operations, with limited “oversight and accountability”.