23rd September 2023
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Council of States opposes suspension of Unity State’s 3% oil share

Author: Moyo Jacob Felix | Published: Friday, July 28, 2023

Mary Ayen Majok, the First Deputy Speaker of the Council of States. | Courtesy.

The Council of States said the endorsement of the suspension of the 3% oil share for Unity State communities, is contrary to the previous resolution to hold a conference to trace the whereabouts of the fund.

The Upper House voiced its position after the Parliamentary Committee on Finance reportedly discovered that the oil share for Unity State communities has been going to individuals’ pockets.

The Committee then ordered the indefinite suspension of the remittance until a community development committee is formed.

But the First Deputy Speaker of the Council of States, Mary Ayen said the suspension of transfers was not in line with the earlier resolution of the Upper House.

Ayen says the House had agreed to convene a conference to include the finance ministry, Central Bank, and other institutions involved in the oil share transfer to identify where the problem is.

“Before this issue was raised in the Legislature, it was agreed here that let’s first call that conference, the conference will be directly after the budget,” Ayen told the budget hearing.

“We wanted to hear from the authorities, we wanted to hear from the finance, we wanted to hear from the bank where does this money go because you cannot just suspend without hearing from the concerned authorities what is going on.”

The lawmaker said the responsibility over the community fund lies on several institutions including the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank.

“It is the Finance Ministry that directs the Central Bank that give this account, they direct the payment to various account and then it is the Central Bank who allows and give the money away, they have also all these records.”

“So, it is not just one side to be questioned without asking the other relevant authorities”.

In response, Finance Minister Dier Tong Ngor said the institution has been paying the 3% oil share to an alleged accounts of the respective state and administrative areas.

“The fact that whether the 2% and 3% are paid, I can say confidently that since I came in August last year, we have been constantly paying the 2% and 3% not only just paying but anytime the states and communities go the bank they will get that money,” Tong said.

“I can guarantee that the money is sitting there. We have never used them in a different way.”

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