Global Witness Urges Transparent Management Of Oil

A United Kingdom based Think Tank that advocates for transparent utilisation of natural resources has called on South Sudan to watch out over proper management of her oil resource.

Global Witness Urges Transparent Management Of Oil
Global Witness Campaigner Dana Wilkins in Juba. [Gurtong| Waakhe Simon Wudu]

By Waakhe Simon Wudu

JUBA, 07 September 2012 [Gurtong] – In an interview with Gurtong, Dana Wilkins, Global Witness Campaigner in Juba has stated numerous principles on how the infant nation should ensure transparent ways of managing the resource.

Dana spent two weeks in Juba assessing on how the infant nation is striving towards best ways of managing the country’s only export. She said that despite tremendous efforts made by the government, it is the responsibility of all South Sudanese stakeholders in overseeing transparent utilisation of the oil revenues.

She stated that the executive has a responsibility of publishing the information about the activities of the oil production.

Dana said that the legislature stands a responsibility of ensuring the executive implements policies passed effectively in principle with the law as required in managing the sector.

According to Dana, the judiciary must investigate and prosecute any cases of corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector.

She also said the media and the civil society role is paramount in the sector explaining that the two parties have a responsibility in calling for more information about the resource utilisation, better government systems and ideally helping citizens better understand and exercise their rights and oversee how the sector is progressing.

After seceding away from Sudan last year, South Sudan passed a petroleum law to legally ensure the better management her oil.

“Though very general, the transparency provisions included in the law are very good. But this is just on paper, and what matter more is how the law is actually practiced and applied,” she said. 

She also told Gurtong that, the sale of crude oil can be a murky business even in the most established oil producing countries because the industry is not very transparent and there can be private trades made, stressing that authorities need to be focused on the production processes.

“As a public resource, the information on how it is sold, at what price, to whom, and how the money is received should all be public. This will need to include all oil sales by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining as well as by Nile Petroleum, (Nilepet) which receives its own share of crude oil production as a stakeholder in oil blocks,” Dana added.

On the oil deal to be cemented between Sudan and South Sudan, she said that “the new oil deal is a very different arrangement, the same principles apply in that public reporting and independent accounting will be necessary to make sure the same problems don't undermine the new deal and risk a return to conflict or another production shut down later on.”

Sudan and South Sudan signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 which ended the last civil war between the two countries. Oil revenues were to be shared 50:50 between the two nations.

However, because the deal contained no safeguards to ensure transparency or independent verification in the implementation of the deal, it resulted into mistrust and concerns over cheating that repeatedly threatened the fragile peace.
 
The two countries are currently locked into peace talks in Addis Ababa and are expected to seal a deal on oil that will eventually lead to resumption of oil production.

South Sudan shut down her oil production early this year after accusing Sudan of looting the resource.

Oil is South Sudan’s only export and contributes to over 90 per cent of the annual budget.

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