South Sudan’s president sacks Central Bank governor, deputies

By bne IntelliNews October 3, 2023

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has announced the sacking of the Central Bank governor Johnny Ohisa Damian and deputies, naming successors for the posts, along with other senior finance officials, the Sudan Tribune reports.

In a presidential decree on South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), Kiir sacked Damian, replacing him with James Alic Garang, an advisor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Kiir provided no explanation for the move, but it comes amid dimming outlook for South Sudan’s economy, which has been depressed a civil war erupted in 2013, forcing about a quarter of its population to flee the country. The war also cut oil production, the mainstay of economic activity, with falling prices further diminishing state resources.

Abrupt changes to the leadership of the central bank and finance ministry have been frequent in recent years, and in 2020 alone the central bank governor was replaced twice, Reuters writes. Damian had only been in the position since August 2022, after Moses Makur Deng was removed from the role.

The decree also affected Central Bank first deputy governor Addis Ababa Othow and second deputy governor John Maciek Acuoth, who were succeeded by Samuel Yanga Mikaya and Nyiel Gordon Kuol, respectively.

In another decrees, Kiir appointed Malual Tap Dhieu as the new Finance and Planning Ministry first undersecretary, succeeding Kuol Daniel Ayulo.

Kiir, in a separate order, sacked the National Revenue Authority (NRA) commissioner general Athian Diing Athian with Africano Monday as the head. He also named Albino Dak Kur as NRA deputy commissioner general.

While crude output has improved in recent years, Reuters notes, it is yet to reach levels seen before the civil war. Production in other sectors like agriculture has also plummeted.

South Sudan became the world’s youngest nation and Africa’s 54th country on July 9, 2011. However, outbreaks of civil war in 2013 and 2016 have undermined the post-independence development gains it made, as well as making its humanitarian situation worse, the World Bank notes.

"More than a decade after independence, South Sudan remains impacted by fragility, economic stagnation, and instability. Poverty is ubiquitous, exacerbated by conflict, displacement, and external shocks," the World Bank says in a country overview, noting that "a modest economic recovery, recorded following the resumption of oil production, has been upended by historic floods and the COVID-19 pandemic."

"South Sudan’s economic outlook is now clouded by production bottlenecks in the oil sector, with production dwindling in the face of limited new investment, highlighting the need to diversify the economy.

"Furthermore, since South Sudan depends on neighboring Sudan as the only route to export oil to international markets, the conflict in Sudan poses acute downside risks to South Sudan’s macroeconomic stability amid limited fiscal resources and pressing humanitarian needs."

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