A South Sudanese official says the government in a new policy wants all non-governmental organizations to start hiring more nationals.

Helen Achiro Lotara, undersecretary at the labor ministry, said Tuesday that South Sudan's government wants some positions held by foreigners to be "taken over by nationals" in order to improve the country's human resource base. She said the directive recently issued to non-governmental organizations and private companies doesn't amount to a ban on employment of foreigners in the world's newest country.

Many non-governmental organizations work in South Sudan, which has been wracked by violence since December as government troops battle rebels loyal to a former deputy president.

Aid groups also say famine looms in parts of the world's newest country.