400% pay rise pleases soldiers

Some members of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces under Lion Division Three have expressed happiness for the pay rise.

The soldiers just received their July salaries, which reflected the 400 percent increment.

One of them, Sgt Aleu Lual, says his salary has increased from 3,500 to 66,000 Pounds – a development which he says has boosted his morale.

“I received SSP66,000. I will use this money to buy my family food and keep some for malaria disease treatment,” Aleu told Akol Yam FM. “Our lives will not be the same again.”

In South Sudan, poverty and food insecurity are prevalent despite the country’s abundance of natural resources. Challenges include civil wars and prolonged violence.

These challenges contribute to a significant number of people living below the poverty line, particularly civil servants such as soldiers and teachers.

His comrades explain that they are happy the government has finally recognized the important roles they play in the country.

“We used to receive SSP 3,500 each; and it was so little. Our wives were about to leave us. Now, we will use this money to meet family’s needs,” said Sgt. Michael Lual, adding that “I feel like I am being finally recognized by the government.”

For his part Sgt. Duang Akot said he would now comfortably execute his duties knowing that his family back home is enjoying his salary.

However, 66,000 Pounds is roughly equivalent to $66 – an amount that cannot fetch the basic foodstuff in the market.

Inflation is projected to increase to 16.5% in 2022/23 and 10.9% in 2023/24, reflecting higher food prices, according to African Development Bank.