Reforming Public Financial Management in South Sudan
Public financial management (PFM) is a key pillar in reforms aimed at building more credible, transparent and accountable governments, especially in post-conflict contexts. The PFM reforms are the focus of multilateral financial institutions and bilateral aid agencies, and in many cases, drive donors’ financial support. The PFM reforms are expected to contribute to the wider state-building objectives after the conflicts and which include transparent management of public finances, regular payment of salaries of civil servants, better service delivery to the citizens, and better allocation of resources in support of reconstruction priorities. However, the current state of PFM implementation and reform in South Sudan is in flux. To deliver the reform agenda and the development goals set forth in the national development strategy, the country needs to ensure fiscal discipline, strategic allocation of resources, and efficient service delivery, all enabled through the PFM institutional framework.
Ultimately, the reform program will require leadership, political commitment, and sustainability to produce effective results in the long term. Based on the provisions of Chapter 4 (188.8.131.52 – 6) of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), a successful PFM reform needs to take into account the unique local context, focusing on the following policy instruments:
- To achieve public financial management reforms, political will and support at the highest level of government are seriously needed, the lack of which may lead to failure of the whole exercise.
- Toward this end, the soon to be established Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) should provide the needed political will and support towards the reform efforts.
- The Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) should seize the opportunity to provide robust oversight for the reforms by conducting hearings regularly to monitor the progress made. This progress could be tracked to ensure that relevant legal frameworks are developed, enacted, assented to, implemented, and regularly reviewed.
- Each of the institutions identified, as part of this reform exercise should have its regulating mechanisms reviewed, personnel screened, systems upgraded, and priority given to institutional and human resource development.
- For reforms to succeed, institutional coordination and inter-agency relations should significantly be improved.
- Finally, the PFM should be continuously tracked and evaluated using a standard M & E framework for improvements.
Zacharia Diing Akol is the Director of Training at the Sudd Institute. Diing has extensive experience in community outreach, government and organizational leadership. He is currently working on M.Res./Ph.D. in political science at the London School of Economics. Diing’s research interests include the role of civil society organizations in peacebuilding, traditional leadership and democratic governance, post-conflict reconstruction, faith and public policy, and the dynamics of civil war.
Before co-founding the Sudd Institute Diing served as a consultant for the Government of South Sudan, evaluating parliamentary activities and government programs. He was also a Transitional Justice Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa, a Project Luke Fellow at the Overseas Ministries Studies Center in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Diing has facilitated short courses on conflict resolution, peace building, leadership and administration in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, Malakal and Renk, South Sudan and given public lectures on Sudan and South Sudan at numerous universities across the United States.
Diing holds a Master’s degree in Peace and Justice Studies from the University of San Diego and two Bachelor’s degrees from Michigan State University in Public Policy & Administration and Policy & Applied Economics.
Ariic David Aguto Reng holds a bachelor of Management (Financial Economics) from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts in Economics. He has a wealth of professional experience working in the public and the private sectors. He has worked for the Canadian Revenue agency (CRA), The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Directorate of Economic Innovation. More recently with Deloitte Consulting LLP, he was an Analyst for a USAID-funded project aimed at creating macroeconomic stability and promoting core economic governance within Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), Bank of South Sudan (BOSS), and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining (MPMI). He is currently the Business Manager of the Eye Radio where he is managing and implementing a USAID-funded media development grant in South Sudan. Mr. Ariic is also an Associate Lecturer at the University of Juba where he teaches Fiscal Management in the Public Sector at the School of Public Service (SPS).