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University of Juba threatens closure over non-payment of staff arrears

By Tapeng Michael Ohure

The University of Juba has threatened to go and strike and close down South Sudan’s highest learning institution if the government continues to delay payment.

The University is demanding salary arrears of six months and have given the government a seven days ultimatum.

“The University of Juba staff or employees in general never received their salaries for the last six months, and this is a major problem,” the Executive Director in the office of the Vice Chancellor, Bek Dhuoriang Chol told Juba Echo in an interview on Wednesday.

“Half a year, you are working everyday and you are not paid salaries yet your families and your relatives are depending on you. How do you expect them to survive without salaries?” he said.

A meeting held by the deans of the board of the university on Tuesday reached three resolutions including demanding the Ministry of Finance and Planning to ensure effecting payment of the six-months salaries arrears within seven days, demanding both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance to speedily review and implement the adjusted salary structures directed by President Salva Kiir, and as well the laying down of tools if the demands are not met.

“If the Ministry of Finance does not respond positively to the demands, then the staff will advise or call the administration of the University of Juba to lay down their tools, whether they will do it in sitting or they go on strike, and this is their right,” Chol said.

“The next step that will happen is that the deans board will authorise the University of Juba administration to close down.”

Students at the institution too joined the staff in demanding the payment from the government.

“I think the lecturers have the right, but what they are doing is a national service,” Kai Bwom Puol Maker, a fourth-year student at the school of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies said in an interview with Juba Echo.

“I urge the government of South Sudan, especially the Ministry of Finance to pay the salaries to the lecturers and equally to other public universities across South Sudan,” Maker said.

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