South Sudan sparked fury when it announced it will spend $16 million to buy cars for the 452 members of parliament.
Each MP would receive a loan of $40,000 to buy luxury cars as they are not expected to ‘use motorbikes.‘
Many in South Sudan and across the world have criticised the government’s move saying the money should have been put to good use including dealing with the food crisis.
According to Oxfam International, over 7.1 million people – half the country’s population – are facing extreme and deadly hunger.
The war has not only caused the death of millions of South Sudanese and displacement of many others; it has also caused a downward spiralling of the economy, causing an increase in the price of food and fuel.
Others see the move as a reward to the MPs by the government for extending President Salva Kiir’s term in office.
The government spokesperson was however quick to defend the expenditure, stating that “it is “nonsensical” to suggest that South Sudan’s ruling elite was wasting money”.
Concern has also arisen over how the MPs, who earn about $50 (9,000 South Sudanese pounds) a month, would be able to pay back the loan.
“One would wonder as to how they will pay it back. This will trigger a series of demands for salary increases which the country cannot afford at this time,” a University of Juba economics professor and former deputy finance minister Marial Awou said to the AFP.