News / Africa

Civil Servants Unpaid as S. Sudan Struggles to Repay Loans

South Sudan's Minister for Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau (L) prepares to press a button to resume oil production in May, 15 months after production was shutdown. South Sudan is struggling to repay loans it took out during the shutdown.South Sudan's Minister for Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau (L) prepares to press a button to resume oil production in May, 15 months after production was shutdown. South Sudan is struggling to repay loans it took out during the shutdown.
x
South Sudan's Minister for Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau (L) prepares to press a button to resume oil production in May, 15 months after production was shutdown. South Sudan is struggling to repay loans it took out during the shutdown.
South Sudan's Minister for Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau (L) prepares to press a button to resume oil production in May, 15 months after production was shutdown. South Sudan is struggling to repay loans it took out during the shutdown.
TEXT SIZE - +
Charlton Doki
— The South Sudanese government has stopped paying the salaries of many of its public sector workers as it struggles to pay back $5 billion dollars in loans it took out to tide the country over during the long oil production shutdown.

"Our borrowing has caught up with us and we cannot run away from it," Finance Minister Aggrey Tisa Sabuni said as he explained why some civil servants' wages have not been paid for two months.

"We must meet these challenges as part of the price of being forced to shut down our oil,” he said.

Juba-based civil servant Suzy Enocka said she hasn't been paid since September and her kids are beginning to badger her as the end-of-year holidays draw near.

“Now, even our children are stressing us, saying, 'Christmas is coming, when will you buy us things, clothes?'  Food is also expensive. Our situation is bad," she said, pleading with the govenrment to pay civil servants what they are owed.

Sabuni said that once the government has repaid its foreign loans, it hopes to pay civil servants' wages promptly. But, he added, that won't happen for "another two or three months."

Loan repayments, often on unfavorable terms to South Sudan, and $3.2 billion in compensation that Juba has to pay to Sudan to make up for revenues that Khartoum lost when the south became independent in 2011 "have squeezed our fiscal space and made it difficult for us to have sufficient funds at hand in order to pay funds promptly," Sabuni said.

"That’s why we are dragging on the issue of salary payments," he said. 

The South Sudanese government borrowed some $5 billion to offset a foreign currency shortage and fund government spending after oil production, which brings in the bulk of South Sudan's revenues, was shut down in early 2012 over a row with Khartoum on pipeline transit fees.

"We borrowed practically all available funds that any of the commercial banks could spare -- we borrowed it all to the tune of $4.5 billion,” and then borrowed another $650 million from foreign lenders, such as the National Bank of Qatar, and oil companies, Sabuni said.

Some of the loans were supposed to be repaid within 12 months, but the production shutdown lasted longer than that, and full production did not resume immediately once it ended.

The loans from foreign sources were to be repaid in oil taken from the volume of crude the South Sudanese government is entitled to under production-sharing agreements, and the domestic loans were to be repaid using non-oil and oil revenues.

But as unfavorable the repayment terms are, Sabuni said the government had no option but to take out the loans. 

“If borrowing on those terms was not done around that time, I cannot imagine how we could have survived," Sabuni said, adding that South Sudan was paying the price now.

"The chickens have come home to roost," he said.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Andrew Henry from: Worthington, MN USA
November 23, 2013 11:36 AM
This is incompetence at its high level.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid