South Sudan’s parliament passed a budget for 2015/2016 on Tuesday, reported Reuters.
“The house observed that some (ministries) are demanding additional funds. However, given with the wide budget deficit in this current fiscal year, the House recommends that the concerns … be addressed in a supplementary budget,” announced Goc Makuac Mayol, chairperson of the economy, development and finance committee.
No explanations were forthcoming on how the government intended to raise money for the budget although it is noteworthy that Juba has taken loans from Chinese companies, offering to pay for them with future oil proceeds.
Traditionally oil has paid for the vast majority of the budget with China being the cheap recipient of South Sudanese oil.
The budget had actually been delayed since July due to fighting in the northern oil-producing regions. A peace treaty was signed last month but clashes have continued and the U.N. Security Council has warned both sides that it could impose sanctions if the August deal collapses.
In a related development Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has invited is his Sudanese and South Sudanese counterparts on Wednesday to a tripartite meeting, reported the Sudan Tribune.
The meeting is meant to discuss ways to settle the outstanding issues and implement border and security protocols agreed between the two countries since September 2013.
While heading to Moscow Sudanese foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandour said that “Sudan looks for a bigger Russian role in the resolution of the outstanding issues between Khartoum and Juba”.
He underlined to importance of the visit, pointing that Russia is an important actor on the global stage and has strong economic relations with Sudan.
“At every opportunity, Sudan confirms its commitment to have good relations with the South Sudan. Thus, Sudan accepts any initiative or mediation aiming to repair relations between Khartoum and Juba, especially when it comes from a country like Russia” he added.
Khartoum had recently expressed dissatisfaction about the slow implementation of the Cooperation Agreement between North and South, with oil exportation being a key point of planned cooperation.