Finance Minister backtracks on advanced oil sale remarks
Agak Achuil Lual, South Sudan Minister of Finance and Planning

Finance Minister backtracks on advanced oil sale remarks

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The South Sudan Minister of Finance and Planning Agak Achuil Lual has made a dramatic U-turn on the statement that the country’s oil proceeds have been sold in advance.

On May 5, 2022, the Achuil was quoted by local media to have said the country’s oil has been sold until 2027, five years from now. This, he said, has complicated the payment of civil servants’ three-month salaries.

Achuil told the Presidential Press Unit Wednesday that he was misquoted adding that the oil was still underground. 

“One thing I would like to clarify is the statement which was taken out of context about the proceeds of the oil. What I meant was not reported as I said it. We 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,” he said.

Achuil claimed that the government is instead embarking on increasing the production of oil proceeds.

“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. And this is going on now. The process is going on to increase the production of the oil because we still have enough oil under the ground in South Sudan. It doesn’t mean all our oil has been sold away, no. The oil is there,” he said.

“What we did was we spread the sheet of the advances which we made to that [20]27. And in the middle here there are some corridors of cargo which remained for the government to run and that’s why the government is still moving. The government is very strong,” Achuil claimed.

He also said plans were underway to partner with the Ministry of Petroleum to scale up the production of oil and fund the payment of outstanding debts.

“And after the unification of the forces, the government is still functioning well. And we are working with the Ministry of Petroleum to increase the enhancements, to increase the oil production, whereby if we reach to the level of 350 or 300 barrels per day, 300,000 per day, that means that the talk of loans and the debts and the arrears will be eliminated as soon as our production increases. Otherwise, the development is still going on. There are roads being constructed. This is from the same oil proceeds,” he said.

South Sudan has been unable to pay civil servants for three months. Achuil previously said he instructed his ministry to prepare payroll for that period but getting the money would be difficult.

Shifting between hope and pessimism, the minister reiterated that the government was working to address the aforementioned challenges.

“So I want to assure our people it doesn’t mean that the oil is sold away all but it was a spreadsheet which we said have gone up to 2027. But the government is now embarking on a solution to increase the production of the oil because the oil is still down under the ground. And this oil, when it is sold, when it is produced, it will emulate all these problems within a short time,” he said.

“So I just wanted to show the public that the oil is still there and we’re are doing our best with the Ministry of Petroleum to increase the production because you remember I said the floods and the covid-19 were the causes of all these things,” Achuil added.

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