3rd October 2022
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‘’I was taken out of context”, Agak on oil pre-sell remarks

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Thursday, May 12, 2022

Agak Achuil, the minister of finance and economic planning - Credit | Office of the President | May 11, 2022

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Agak Achuil on Thursday clarified his statement regarding the pre-sell of oil up to 2027 and said that it was taken out of context.

Last week, Agak Achuil said his ministry has been struggling to pay civil servants because the country’s oil proceeds have been sold in advance up to 2027.

“The reason why we are not paying the arrears is that the oil is going for the loans which have been taken before. The oil money is going towards the payment of loans and paying for some of the priorities of the government,” the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning had said early.

“Where am I going to get the money, if the oil has been sold in advance up to 2027? That means that I will go to 2028.”

However, speaking to the state-owned TV, SSBC on Wednesday, after he was summoned by President Kiir, Minister Achuil said he didn’t mean the country’s oil proceeds have been all sold out, a statement he claimed was taken out of context.

“The statement which was taken out of the context about the proceeds of the oil, what I meant, was not reported as I said it. I said the oil advances or commitments were spread up to 2027, but it doesn’t mean that the oil of South Sudan was sold out all. We still have our oil in the ground,” Agak said.

Agak says South Sudan still has enough oil and the government is embarking on to increase its production to pay loans and arrears in the country.

It is not clear when the major source of the country’s revenue was sold out.

But in 2014, the government had set plans to borrow 3 billion South Sudanese pounds, about 1 billion US dollars at an official rate, from oil companies during that year’s national financial budget.

This was to cover repayments on domestic loans and previous oil advances, the government said in a budget document.

According to the Finance Minister, when he assumed office, he found that salary arrears were not paid in the months of July, August, September and October last year.

This is because he said, the government sold out the oil proceeds to pay off accrued loans.

And this made it difficult for the government to pay civil servants.

Minister Agak said the government is looking for ways to increase the production of oil up to more than 300,000 barrels per a day to address the economic crisis.

“We still have all our resources in the ground and the government is embarking on an initiative of oil enhancement to increase the production of the oil,” Agak said.

“We are working with the minister of petroleum to increase the oil production whereby if we reach the level of 350 or 300 barrels per a day, 300,000 per a day, that means that the talk of loans and the debts and the arrears will be eliminated as soon as our production increases.”

In July last year, President Kiir directed the Ministry of Finance and that of Petroleum to dedicate 5,000 barrels of crude oil per day to regularize the payment of civil servant salaries.

Kiir noted that since the government floated the South Sudanese pounds in 2015, civil servant salaries have not been adjusted.

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