News / Africa

South Sudan Businesses Fear Oil Shutdown Fallout

South Sudanese express their support as President Salva Kiir declared a halt on all oil operations in South Sudan, in Juba, January 23, 2012.
South Sudanese express their support as President Salva Kiir declared a halt on all oil operations in South Sudan, in Juba, January 23, 2012.

When South Sudan decided to shut down its oil production to protest against alleged injustices from the north, the country was also cutting off 98 percent of its revenue.  Businessmen in the south are particularly concerned about the economic consequences of the shutdown.

Mustafa Ayoo runs a small hardware store at the Jebel market on the outskirts of the capital. Like many other business owners here, he has been closely following news of the oil shutdown, a two-week process begun late last month which should be nearing completion.

“Well, I'm concerned for sure, because it's like even foreign exchange is going to be a problem," said Ayoo. "Because mostly here the things we sell are coming from another country - mostly from Uganda and Kenya.  Here I'm sure it's going to affect my business.”

Ayoo says he typically buys his materials using U.S. dollars. But the dollar and other foreign currencies that had been brought into the country through the oil trade are getting harder to find since the shutdown.

South Sudan's central bank, trying to conserve dollar reserves, has ordered that wire transfers to Kenya and Uganda be conducted using only the South Sudanese pound.

Michael Toma, originally from Uganda, has been selling household goods at the Jebel market for the past year.

“Yeah, I'm so concerned in that I believe it's already has impact as of now. Though we are worried if the impacts are going to be a long term impact definitely we the common man will have to suffer," said Toma. "But however, I overheard the president say 'it's for the better' and in hearing what he said I have reason to believe that he was right in ordering the shutdown of the oil. It's affecting us, right, but we believe its a better decision for the future.”

North-South Sudan oil pipeline
North-South Sudan oil pipeline

South Sudan depends on northern pipelines to send its oil to international markets. The south cut off its oil trade with the north after accusing Sudan of stealing $815 million worth of oil. Khartoum says it took the oil to compensate for unpaid transit fees.

An African Union panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki put forward a proposal to settle the dispute in which South Sudan would pay the north some $5 billion over the next five years to make up for the lost revenue.

South Sudan rejected the proposal. Toma says he supports that decision.

“I believe in that, because given the provisions that were drafted by the AU and trying to peruse through them I have the feeling that South Sudan as a nation was being cheated," said Toma. "Its sovereignty was being tampered with and it was being reduced [from] an independent country to a dependent country.”

South Sudan also faces enormous development challenges. The United Nations estimates that only a quarter of the population is literate and about the same percentage has access to health care.

Some traders, like Dayo King, think the nation may still be too fragile to sacrifice so much of its economy.

“This is still a country that has just begun, in fact was trying to do development just from the start, so if there's no oil maybe when the oil even stops maybe like one week it affects people terribly," King said.

Others like Simon Gatdier Yieh support South Sudan at all costs.  Having witnessed years of war, Yieh says the south, as an independent nation, is in the right to stand up to Khartoum.

“The people of the Arab side like Omar al-Bashir they've not forgotten the war; it's not good," said Yieh. "So we're very happy for our president to shutdown the oil because oil belongs to the south. It does not belong to the north.

The government of South Sudan is preparing to announce austerity measures to reduce spending in order to make up for the economic shortfall.

But with so many people in the country lacking basic services, and many others kept alive through emergency humanitarian interventions, any significant cuts could be painful.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More