British Ambassador Alastair McPhail (Left) during a visit to Eastern Equatoria State last year. [Gurtong| File]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 05 September 2012 [Gurtong] – Alastair McPhail said that corruption and insecurity is painting a negative image of the country and lowers the confidence of investors interested in joining the private sector.
“There are some perceptions which need to be tackled and those include things like security and corruption. So the more that is being done to tackle the perceptions as well the reality, the better it is for us to promote South Sudan as a market,” said the Ambassador.
The Ambassador to South Sudan spoke to the media after a closed-door meeting with the South Sudanese Minister of Commerce Hon. Garang Diing Akuong.
The meeting discussed possibilities on how to improve investment in the country.
The shutdown of oil production early this year has placed the country’s economy on a hard path, increasing cost of living as government was forced to enforce austerity measures in a bid to manage the situation.
Corruption has also appeared to be a major contributing factor to the country’s current economic crisis according to Alastair as investors who would create more opportunities for employment and other developments gain negative perception on the country.
McPhail underlined government recent efforts in fighting corruption, pointing the activity of the parliament through its Public Account Committee (PAC) has recently started holding civil servants responsible over misused resources.
He also noted the work of the Auditor Chamber in unveiling how public funds are being used.
However, Alastair called for those suspected to be behind embezzlement and corruption should be prosecuted in a bid to create confidence in the country’s economy to investors.
Meanwhile, Garang Diing Akuong admitted insecurity is still hindering investment especially in the Greater Upper Nile Region and pointed out government move in restoring security.
He said government have so far intensified efforts on disarmament in Jonglei State, a bid he said among others geared towards minimising insecurity in the infant nation.
He however criticised the media on how it addresses the corruption practice in the country saying that the media has exaggerated the reporting on corruption.