JUBA, -- South Sudan's inflation rate doubled to 661.3 per cent in July from 300 per cent a year earlier after renewed fighting between rebel troops and the government, officials here say.

"The South Sudan consumer price index (CPI) increased by 661.3 per cent in July from July 2015 driven by high price in food and non-alcoholic beverages," the official statement from the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.

It added that the monthly inflation rate rose by 77.7 per cent from June 2016 to July 2016.

This has put the war-torn impoverished oil-rich country in an economic quagmire in the wake of an outbreak of conflict in December, 2013, which halted its much depended upon oil production to finance 98 per cent of its largely agrarian economy.

Economist James Alic Garang of the Ebony Centre for Strategic Studies said this will depress macro-economic stability if nothing is done to rein in the runaway inflation.

"The business climate is already bad, basic commodities which were cheap previously are now high. This is something unimaginable but it has come but it will be a painful process as normalcy slowly returns," he observed.

Garang added that the transitional unity government formed more than three months ago must prioritize passing the annual budget that would show serious intent to the international community.

"They must work hard to pass the budget that would indicate their seriousness to the international community. It will give room to peace building," he explained.

In the result of consultations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in June, Garang advised speedy implementation of recommendations from the latter to stabilize macroeconomics.

"IMF article IV is something the government would have done long time but they are dragging feet. We are in situation where failure would energize the public to say the government is doing nothing," he noted.

Renewed fighting in July 8-11 between Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A-IO) led by former first vice president Riek Machar and troops loyal to President Salva Kiir killed 300 people and displaced 60,000 South Sudanese seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

A peace deal signed in August 2015, remains fragile in the wake of renewed fighting as it forced Machar and his rebel troops to flee the capital, with the only hope of salvaging it hanging on the deployment of the African standby protection force by regional countries.

Machar, replaced as first vice president by Taban Deng Gai, his former chief negotiator, has welcomed the decision by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to deploy a third force to separate the two forces.

Source: Name News Network

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