Lawmaker claims withheld allowances made MPs beggars

A member of the National Legislative Assembly questioned the endless delay in the disbursement of their recess allowances.

Victor Omuho, who addressed the Parliament on Wednesday, lamented that the lawmakers have gone several months without the settlement of the allowances. He alleged the situation had reduced the lawmakers to beggars, and they had accumulated debts in the process.

“Why have our allowances not been paid till now? We have become beggars and have incurred lots of debt from these shops. Why is the ministry and the executive embarrassing us?” he posed.

He warned the House leadership against postponing payments.

“It has become a very bad practise in this parliament that the Assembly is released to go for recess and there is no money for recess,” he said.

Speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba sent MPs on recess in December 2022 without paying them, alleging that the finance ministry had not yet tallied their leave benefits, which included their December salaries.

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The decision enraged many MPs, despite the fact that the vast majority of them did not oppose it at the time.

“I know that from 2019 to 2021 when we were inaugurated, there was one recess that was not paid. Is that going to repeat itself now in this world? What is the problem? The minister recently told us that he has enough money. Why has the recess money not been brought to the August House up until today?” he questioned.

In response, Nathaniel Oyet, the first deputy speaker, who presided over the meeting on Wednesday, stated that the recess request had been sent to the Ministry of Finance and had now taken nearly two months in the ministry.

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“In the ABC, we interacted with the minister when we summoned the minister of finance over the delay in the salary of the civil servants, the military, and members of the organised forces.”

“We also asked for clarification on the delay in these benefits of the recess, and he also told us that he was working on the payment of the recess money.”

“What was delaying the ministry from paying even salaries are technical issues within the ministries that require adjustment from the old salary scale to the new salary scale, and this has affected the normal operation of the ministry,” Oyet explained.

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He confirmed that it has been nearly one month since their interaction with the finance minister.

“Up to now, he has not given us feedback for the recess, and the salaries keep accumulating in terms of money,” Oyet added.

Oyet urged the House to exercise its oversight responsibility and hold any expenditure agency accountable for any government transaction, including the Ministry of Finance.

South Sudan’s parliament accommodates 650 members.

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