JUBA, South Sudan

Government employees in South Sudan are finding it very difficult to feed their families due to low salaries and skyrocketing food prices.

Garang Deng, a government worker, told Anadolu Agency that it has been difficult for him to make both ends meet for his family as he receives a monthly salary of just 4,000 South Sudanese pounds ($30) which cannot cater for all the family needs.

“I find it really difficult to meet all family requirements. When someone in the family falls sick either with malaria or typhoid, the medical bill at the private facility is usually above 10,000 South Sudanese pounds ($76),” Deng said.

“I am now engaged with a small private work in order to help meet some of the family needs. I do not even turn up for work daily because of the increasing cost of transport,” he said, adding his children do not go to school as he cannot afford school fees.

Martha Atoch, a 45-year-old civil servant and the mother of four, said that she is striving hard to meet the needs of her family.

“I am a civil servant working with a meager salary that is not enough to cater for the family needs … I am told that the salary is going to be increased by 100%. However, it will make no difference if the market prices are still very high,” Atoch said.

“Now I am also working in a restaurant where they pay me 1,500 South Sudanese pounds ($11) daily and I am using that money to help my family,” she said.

Manasseh Dol, the headmaster of a primary school, said he has decided to open a small retailer shop in order to “feed my family.”

“People’s livelihood in South Sudan is really getting tough, especially for the civil servants. I am headmaster in one of the government schools and my salary is 4,000 South Sudanese pounds and that money cannot buy for me a bag of maize flour, charcoal for cooking, medicines among other needs,” Dol said.

He said that the only advantage he got as a government employee is that all of his children are studying in the school for free.

Speaking at the nation’s 10th anniversary of independence earlier this month, President Salva Kiir Mayardit announced that his government is going to double the salaries of all civil servants.

Prof. Abraham Matoc, an economist and vice chancellor of Dr. John Garang Memorial University, said that the plan to raise the salaries is an indication that the government is concerned about the livelihood of the people in the country.

“Salaries are income of individuals and if incomes are very low, definitely, poverty will not be reduced. Reasonable income would improve the livelihood of the people because they have sufficient income which they can use now as a means of livelihood,” Matoc said.​​​​​​​

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