An oil field in Unity State, South Sudan [File photo | Gurtong]
By Waakhe Simon Wudu
JUBA, 19 May 2012 [Gurtong] –An international movement, the Global Witness has issues the alert following the shutdown of oil production in the country early this year.
According to a report released Friday, South Sudan has in recent months witnessed massive borrowing ranging from 100 to 1,500 million US Dollars from foreign countries including China.
The report says South Sudan must exercise caution and total transparency in pursuing oil-backed financing, adding the detailed publication of any loan agreement will be critical in preventing exploitative terms, corruption and mismanagement from undermining immediate benefits.
“Taking on loans with a commitment to repay them in future oil production or revenues can be risky under the best circumstances”, said Global Witness Campaigner Dana Wilkins.
“The risks of corruption and mismanagement are huge and given the importance of oil to South Sudan’s future, the Government must be extremely careful and transparent in managing these deals”, reads the report in part.
Wilkins has urged that as rightful owners of the country’s natural resources, all South Sudanese citizens should be allowed the information necessary to understand exactly what has been agreed and what the future obligations of the country will be.
“This will be one of the first major tests of the Government’s repeated commitments to transparency and accountability”, he said.
“If the Government of South Sudan feels that oil-backed loans are currently necessary to prevent economic collapse, it is critical that robust protections are put in place to minimize future costs and consequences”, added the report.
The prolonged conflict with its northern neighbor Sudan forced the South Sudanese government to halt oil production it its territory in January this year.