South Sudan's Salva Kiir fires finance minister, central bank governor
Friday August 05 2022
South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardiit, on Thursday night, fired his Finance and Economic Planning minister Agak Acuil eight months after appointing him.
Through a presidential decree, the President also sent home the central bank governor Moses Makur.
In the surprise announcement on the state-run TV SSBC, President Kiir replaced Mr Acuil with former Bank of South Sudan Governor Dier Tong. The new Finance minister had served at the central bank from May 2018 to January 2020 when he was fired but reappointed 10 months later, in November, to the same position. He was sacked again in January 2022.
Under Mr Tong’s leadership, the bank introduced wide-ranging reforms to the financial markets in 2021, including requiring commercial banks to quote a single foreign exchange rate to limit market distortions.
The central bank deputy governor Johny Ohisa will replace his boss Mr Makur on an interim basis, President Kiir ordered.
Mr Makur previously worked as the director general for bank supervision, research and statistics at the central bank.
President Kiir did not give any reasons for the changes, apart from citing his constitutional powers to appoint and remove public servants.
The changes come amid hyperinflation and the depreciation of the South Sudanese pound (SSP).
The pound fell to a record low of 700 to the US dollar, down from 450 to the greenback a month ago.
The South Sudan economy has struggled to recover from high inflation primarily caused by years of conflict since December 2013 that hit hard its oil sector. The country depends on oil revenues to finance up to 95 percent of its budget.
The central bank has been auctioning millions of US dollars to forex bureaus and commercial banks to mop up excess liquidity blamed for the pound's depreciation against the dollar.
Before his sacking on Thursday night, Mr Makur had earlier in the day revealed that the central bank would inject $20 millio, an increase from the previous $13 million, into the market to prop up the pound.
According to BoSS, last month alone, it auctioned nearly $50 million.