South Sudan will not celebrate its independence anniversary for the third year running due to financial difficulties, a senior official said Thursday.
Abdun Agau, head of the independence committee, said for the third year running they will not be celebrating independence on July 9 due to financial constraints.
South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 after more than two decades of civil war but again plunged into conflict in December 2013 after President Salva Kiir sacked his former Vice President Riek Machar, leaving the youngest nation in economic turmoil as conflict disrupted oil production, the main foreign currency earner.
The country depends hugely on oil exports to finance 98 percent of its fiscal budget but conflict has curtailed oil production to less than 160,000 barrels a day from the previous 350,000 bpd.
South Sudan economy has been hit hard amid hyperinflation due to the more than four years of conflict which has also created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
Mr Kiir and Mr Machar, the leader of the main rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army held talks on June 28 in Khartoum in a bid to revive the weakened 2015 peace agreement.
Messrs Kirr and Machar agreed to the permanent ceasefire mediated by the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
The 2015 peace agreement was shattered when the warring parties renewed fighting in July 2016 in the capital, forcing rebel leader Riek Machar to flee into exile.
The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.