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South Sudanese public servants cry out over months of unpaid salaries as country runs out of funds

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Public servants in South Sudan are currently facing a gloomy period following months of unpaid salaries as the government says it has run out of funds with income from oil exports allocated to servicing the country’s growing loans until 2027.

A statement from the office of the country’s Finance Minister, Agak Achuil on Tuesday said the affected workers, mostly government employees including members of the security forces, doctors and nurses,
have been demanding their salary arrears for months now but there was little the government can do about their plight.

“The reason why we are not paying the arrears is that the oil money is going towards the payment of loans which have been taken before and paying for some of the priorities of the government,” Achuil told reporters in Juba, the country’s capital.

“Where am I going to get the money if the oil has been sold in advance up to 2027?” He added when squeezed to give a timeline when the salary arrears will be paid.

Civil servants in the war ravaged country were last paid their salaries in November and December of 2021 and have not received their salaries for the first four months of 2022.

The Sudanese government depends on oil proceeds to pay salaries and finance other development projects as the internally generated revenue resources are not enough to support government expenditure.

However, the government has borrowed heavily against the country’s oil exports and in 2019, agreed to allocate 10,000 barrels of crude oil per day as payment to Chinese firms building roads in the country.

The government was heavily criticised in 2018 when it gave each of the country’s 400 legislators a $40,000 loan to buy personal cars in a country where most government employees live in relative poverty with medical workers among the least paid, as most nurses and midwives earn under $100 per month.

Some government critics have also accused it of taking corrupt loans as many are finalized without parliamentary approval.

“These loans are very corrupt because there (are) lots of money being exchanged under the table.

“This is why money of five years is already spent,” Peter B. Ajak, an economist who previously worked for the government said.

Metro

Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Metro

Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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