The head of a continental energy firm is calling on the US government to lift sanctions on South Sudan oil and gas corporation to enable the country to develop the sector.
NJ Ayuk, Executive Director of the Africa Energy Chamber said the sanctions are hindering foreign investment in South Sudan oil and gas projects including the production of natural gas.
“I might get into trouble for saying this, but I think it’s time to end the sanctions in South Sudan. Those sanctions are crippling in the industry, its crippling the economy,” said Ayuk.
In 2018, the US government imposed sanctions on 15 oil firms allegedly complicit in South Sudan conflict.
The targeted sanctions affected 15 international and national oil companies and businesses as well as some government units operating in the oil sector.
Sanctioned government institutions include the Ministry of Petroleum, Nile Petroleum Corporation, and South Sudan National Oil and Gas Company.
Ayuk said foreign companies and governments find it hard to deal with the sanctioned institutions that were added to the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Entity List.
He said the companies must first seek permission from the US government to get a specific license to do business with South Sudan or risk being added to the same Entity List.
According to the group, the sanctions has not only crippled the sector, but made it difficult for South Sudan to foster an economic growth, create jobs and business opportunities for its citizens.
“How are we going to tell South Sudan you got to move to a greener economy but then you can’t bring in money, because you will have to deal with entities that have been listed as hold on these sanction days? said the Cameroonian.
“That is counterproductive to a greener future. If you are going to look at defeating energy poverty, and really improve the lives of people and then you have some of the biggest restrictions there we are shooting over self in the food.”
Ayuk, who spoke during the 5th South Sudan Oil and Power Conference in Jub, acknowledged that the US sanctioned South Sudan because it was using oil to fund war.
But he argued that if the sanctions are removed, it will help the country in building its capacity and developing gas to power program to minimize extensive energy poverty.
He said he hopes that the government restore full stability, enhance good governance and transparency to encourage the US government to lift the sanction.
For his part, the Minister of Petroleum Puot Kang Chol also called on the US to reconsider its decision.
“The future of this country does not belong to those of us who are on this stage, the future of these country belong to those children who are playing football on the street and their future cannot be punished because of our own mistakes,” said the Minister.
“I have been telling those who sanctioned us over and over again, that when you continue to sanction us, and you are not only helping us on how to solve our internal crises you will not be helping the situation.”
The African Energy Chamber however recommended that the US should use other decision not sanctions.
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