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.
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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid