BY SIMON KUR, JUBA RSS. 12 MARCH 2015.South Sudan’s economy is facing a serious danger with crude oil prices hitting all time low below 65 USD per barrel in the international market. Since the beginning of the civil war in 2013, most oil fields are under the control of the rebel forces, making it difficult for oil drilling companies to work from the areas controlled by the forces under Riek Machar.
The south Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum & Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau was said to have approached his Sudanese counterpart to renegotiate the transport fee, currently Khartoum is charging Juba, 25 US dollar per barrel, as the price of crude oil in international market hit record low with most part of oil production areas seized and in some instances productions are closed down all together due to the insecurities for oil workers.
Juba find itself in a tight and unexpected financial situation. South Sudan under secretary Minister of petroleum Mr. Machar Aciek Nyang was left with no options than to accept and acknowledge to Catherine Soi of Aljazeera English news, that his country is passing through unprecedented difficult financial moments. South Sudan economy entirely depends on oil revenue and revenue collection from major border crossing points.
Educational institutions in particular are hit hard, Professors and lecturers of the five South Sudan’s universities are on strikes, last year the government in Juba has imposed certain measure to cut the salaries of the university educators, in order to keep the country’s economy functioning, but now the professors said they cannot not go on living with what is a fraction of their total monthly wages, as a result most of the universities including Juba university are now facing immanent closures.
Former South Sudan Minister of Mining and petroleum Luel Deng had agreed and acknowledged that the country’s economy has collapsed already with production of oil reduced to below 25% of what it used to be. There is also absence of circulation of hard currencies in central Bank of south Sudan worsened by the black markets that make production of anything very difficult said James Wani, a worker at Beverage Company in Juba.
The National army is fighting without pays and unable to even feed their families, while the wounded takes no benefits and many are left to die. A week ago, police in Western Bahr El Ghanzal state staged strike over the delay of their three months salaries and the end results of the protest was 8 fatalities of police officers and military simply because Governor Zachariah Rizik failed to empathized and resorted to calling the army to disarmed the police.
Source in the government of South Sudan reveals that juba and its ally in Kampala are also in payment dispute. And there are bitter and uneasy relations between the SPLA Juba army and UPDF forces deployed in South Sudan. The government in Juba is looked at, by her army as favoring the UPDF by prioritizing to manage their well being first than that of the national army of south Sudan.
BY SIMON KUR