By Isaac Kiir Geka
October 5, 2019 (SSNA) — With all the due respect to some truth Hon. Kim touched in his remark, I think Hon. Kim was making a political statement and not addressing the issue he supposed to address as a member of the EAC Parliament representing South Sudan.
The reasons for my conclusion are as follow:
- Hon. Kim in his article (not sure if indeed he wrote it as such), has attributed the economic survival of South Sudan to her membership to EAC. That is simply not true! Yes, it’s true that decisions in life are rarely black and white but usually involve shades of gray, but still, people often make decisions systematically and purposefully to make them better off given the available opportunities, as far as rationality is concerned. Therefore, one would conclude that, if only South Sudan in the persons of her men/women in the decision-making process was rational, South Sudan would have not to join the EAC, and if it did, at least would be in a different manner. For that matter, if Hon. Kim is not just fearing the possible loss of his lucrative job at EAC Parliament if South Sudan get expelled, but genuinely expressing his concern for the nation, then there is a good news for him: South Sudan is better off with expulsion from the EAC than her current status as a member with unexamined obligations and rights/costs and benefits.
- Paying port fees is not a problem for South Sudan because South Sudan if she is not required to pay a port fee at any port in EAC member countries, it’s not a free service rendered to South Sudan. It’s actually in exchange for something bigger from South Sudan. For example, if Kenya gives South Sudan free port service and in exchange, Kenya is allowed to explore the domestic labor markets in the young nation at will like it really does, then the loser is South Sudan in that regard. The same is true in the case of Uganda and others. The good thing is that South Sudan has the capacity to pay for the port it uses, and she is better off paying.
- If South Sudanese are required to have a resident permit in those countries, that is not a problem, it’s just an immigration reality. The same thing is also required to do with the citizens of those countries residing in South Sudan. Ethiopia requires South Sudanese to have resident permits while staying in Ethiopia and so does South Sudan for the Ethiopians to stay in South Sudan. If you look at it, Ethiopians are more in South Sudan than the South Sudanese staying in Ethiopia. That means South Sudan is earning more money from Ethiopians staying in her territory than Ethiopia is doing for its citizens staying in Ethiopia. In economics sense, South Sudan is better off in her immigration setting with Ethiopia. That neither is a problem for Ethiopia nor it’s for South Sudan. It’s just a reality which is normal.
- Construction of Nimule-Kaya Road is not something South Sudan can give up herself for to others because it can be done by South Sudan herself like South Sudan can construct Juba-Bor Road or Malakal-Nasir Road. If EAC decided to construct that road, it’s simply not for free but in exchange for something bigger. One Area Network is a useless protocol for South Sudan. So, South Sudan is better off with termination.
- If South Sudanese students are required to pay international tuition at the Universities in EAC member countries, that is not a problem. South Sudanese students in Uganda are indeed international students and therefore should not think otherwise. One may think that since South Sudan has no universities at which foreign students from EAC member countries come to study, South Sudan is advantageous. In fact, South Sudan is the loser in that regard if the analysis is widened. South Sudanese students are paying international fees/tuitions in Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, etc., and yet, are graduating better in those countries than they do in the EAC member countries.
- Prices of goods from the EAC member countries would rise in South Sudan if South Sudan expelled according to Hon. Kim. If it wasn’t because of the ignorance on the part of Mr. EAC MP, he would not be tempted to think that prices would be lower/higher in the importing country because of her membership in a certain association. If that was the case, then prices in South Sudan would not be at the altitude they fly currently because that only happened after South Sudan had already joined the EAC. Kim should know that the general price level in an economy depends mainly on the macroeconomic situation in that economy determined by factors, but not limited to the market force (interaction of demand and supply), the monetary system in that economy, trade policies, etc., other things remain constant. If Mr. PM is devoid of that simple macroeconomic fact, and he is entrusted to represent the country at the EAC Parliament, then South Sudan is dead in the long run. Is this what Mr. MP wants his naive citizens to buy, that South Sudan’s members.
The author is a concerned South Sudanese.