Saturday, April 25, 2009

Budget situation in South Sudan: Cold water on the "crisis"?

The good people at European Coalition on Oil in Sudan posted what apparently is a World Bank presentation on the short term future of GOS and GOSS budget, given steep decline in oil. One slide shows the projected GOSS budget for different oil price scenarios. GOSS revenues will likely decline from SDG 3.6 b to SDG 2 b... that is, almost get cut in half. At current exchange rate of roughly 2 SDG per $, the GOSS revenues fall from $1.8b to $1b. Now, GOSS administers a population of around 10 million (census might be out next week). So this is $100 per person, at the lower revenue. GOSS revenues per capita will remain in excess of comparable countries, I think. For example, the Government of Burkina Faso's revenues (a large proportion coming from ODA) are also on the order of $1b, but for a population of 14m, and with a far higher level of government services provided. Likewise, it seems that the Government of Kenya budget is on the order of $5b, for almost 40 million people.

Is this budget "crisis" really a crisis, then? Aid officials and government officials are perhaps manufacturing a sense of crisis so that donors will cough up even more money (though the Bank people identify the "funding gap" as being only about $100m). GOSS should have been putting 30% of those peak revenues of 2008 in a rainy day fund. So why enable inflated expenditures by responding to the "crisis" with more development assistance?

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