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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
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