The Transitional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan adjourned a third reading of the country’s 2023/2024 fiscal budget on Wednesday afternoon, leaving lawmakers in shock.
Lawmakers had been waiting at the parliament hall since 10:00 AM when Speaker Jemma Nunu Kumba walked in to announce that the reading of the fiscal budget had been “postponed.”
She did not provide any explanation for the postponement.
The session was originally scheduled to start at 10:00 AM, but Nunu did not arrive at the House until a few minutes past noon. When she did arrive, she apologized to the lawmakers for the delay and then announced that the budget would not be read.
The long-overdue budget is currently in its third reading and was supposed to be passed to pave the way for presidential assent.
It has already been two months into new financial year and the country lack a budget. South Sudan has been in a state of civil war since 2013, and the government has struggled to provide basic services to its citizens.
The failure to pass the budget will only make it more difficult for the government to function, observers say.
It is unclear why the budget sitting was adjourned. Some lawmakers have speculated that it was due to disagreements between the government and the opposition over the budget.
Others have suggested that it was due to a lack of quorum. The Speaker of the Parliament has not commented on the reasons for the adjournment.