Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

South Sudan’s inflation jumps to nearly 80%

South Sudanese will have to dig deeper into their pockets, after statistics released by the country national bureau of statistics indicate annual inflation increased to a staggering 80 percent in last month.

South Sudan’s National Bureau of Statistics (SSNBS), in its latest report, attributes the souring inflation in the midst of a struggling economy to the unexpected rise in the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

“The South Sudan Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 29.5% from April 2012 to May 2012. The increase was mainly driven by food and non-Alcoholic beverages,” the report partly notes.

South Sudan seceded from the north in July last year, taking with it nearly 75% of oil resources. However, a dispute over oil early this year with neighboring Sudan forced South Sudan to shut down its oil production, leaving the latter entirely dependent non-oil revenues. Oil revenues initially accounted for nearly 98% of South Sudan’s annual budget.

David Chan, director of statistic at SSNBS attributes the sharp rise in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages to fuel scarcity in the country. Fuel scarcity has in recent weeks hit South Sudan’s major towns, with officials saying anticipating that the situation could worsen in coming months.

Early this year, a food security assessment conducted by the United Nations showed 4.7 million people at risk of food insecurity in South Sudan this year, with fears that at least a million of them could be severely affected.

In Upper Nile, for instance, the food crisis situation has reportedly worsened as a result of the influx of refugees fleeing neighboring Blue Nile State in Sudan, where conflict has persisted since September 2011.

According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), more than 81,000 refugees are concentrated in Jammam (36,000 people) and Doro (over 47,000 people) camps in Jinmekda and Buongpayams, respectively. However, with a local population of 45,000 people in Maban County, according to the 2008 South Sudan Census, refugees are nearly twice the size of the host population, resulting in extreme competition over access to local resources.