By Deng Machol
South Sudan’s government has allocated 45 billion South Sudanese Pounds ($112.5 million) for road construction in the 2021/2022 fiscal year budget.
Peter Kuot Jel, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Roads said on Monday that the government has prioritized developing infrastructure after approving 287.04 billion South Sudanese pounds [$700m) budget.
“If you have the roads that are well-designed it will create conducive environment for doing business and in turn improve on wellbeing of the population,” Kuot told The Juba Echo in Juba.
He disclosed that major road projects in the ten states are already contracted out. These include Juba – Bhar el Ghazel – Unity, Juba – Nimule, Juba – Torit – Kapoeta – Nadapal, Juba – Bor – Malakal and Juba – Yei – Kaya.
The 125 km Juba – Nimule road is the only paved highway that connects South Sudan to its neighbor Uganda, and is also the main entry point for goods from the port of Mombasa in Kenya.
Kuot disclosed that this year’s budget for roads has increased by 15 billion SSP from the previous 30 billion SSP.
South Sudan cabinet approved nearly US$900,000 for the building of the Gambela-Pagak-Paloch and Dima-Raad-Boma-Bor roads connecting to neighboring Ethiopia. These roads will allow easy export refined oil products to landlocked Ethiopia.
But until now, the construction of these roads is yet to start.
Kuot further emphasized that the construction of these highways will promote socio-economic opportunities and easy movement for the people living in the country.
Deng Diar, Deputy Director of Infrastructure Development and Management at Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority, said that roads are critical to regional economic integration.
He also added that these roads are necessary to improve on security as they ease government’s response to violence in any part of the country.
“We need to have access to each other so that we appreciate that we are one people in South Sudan,” said Diar.