18,000km of roads in South Sudan cleared of landmines

JUBA, 22 March 2011 – 18,000km of roads in Southern Sudan have been cleared of landmines and thus opening vital routes for trade, security and humanitarian activities, the chairperson of the Southern Sudan De-mining Authority (SSDA), H.E. Brig. Jurkuc Barach Jurkuc, has reported.


Addressing the weekly media forum hosted by the Ministry of Information, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Brig. Jurkuc also reported that nearly 800,000 hazardous items including 25,000 landmines have been removed from the Southern Sudan’s fertile agricultural farms, roads and footpaths, water collection points, schools and villages.


The SSDA chairperson explained that de-mining is aimed at clearing the territory to enable the citizens to conduct their daily socio-economic activities safely. He said that the existence of large quantities of unexploded landmines can be blamed for food insecurity in the region which continues to import essential commodities from its neighbours.


Brig.Jurkuc also reported that about 1.25million citizens – among them children and women – have been educated on the dangers associated with mines and how to keep themselves safe from all forms of mines.


He explained that given that Southern Sudan was a war zone for over twenty years, there is still a lot of work to be done. He said that new risks are being detected daily especially in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states. He estimated that it will take at least six years to clear these areas of the risks.


He also appealed for support for mine-related accident victims whom he estimated to be about 2,700. He explained that the number may increase due to new accidents especially among the returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). He said that the returnees and IPDs need to be educated on the risks of mines before they can be resettled in their original homes.


Brig. Jurkuc also appealed to the concerned authorities to ensure that stockpiled and discarded ammunition are stored securely. Similarly, he appealed to the authorities to destroy all unserviceable and dangerous items.


The SSDA chairperson also announced that the authority is currently developing a de-mining strategic plan to run between 2012 and 2017. He also reported that the SSDA is working with the UN agencies, government and civil society to transition the de-mining role from the UN to the government especially in light of the fact that Southern Sudan will become a sovereign state in July this year.


He also reported that the authority will advocate for the independent South Sudan to become a party state to the Mine Ban Treaty as well as the Convention on Cluster Munitions. “Signing these international treaties will ensure that South Sudan builds on the many years of the work done by the sector and that the scourge of mines is reduced if not eliminated”, he said.


Brig. Jurkuc said that lack of adequate human resource is one of the most serious challenges the SSDA is facing. He said that though the authority has embarked on training its staff both locally and abroad, the gap is still wide. He appealed to all the stakeholders to join hands and make South Sudan a mine-free territory.


The forum was coordinated by the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Information, Mr. George Garang since the minister H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin had to attend to other urgent matters. It was attended by journalists drawn from local and international private and public media institutions.


Reported By Barnaba Mabor Mayom


Update on the Presidency meeting in Khartoum

JUBA, 21 March 2011 - The Presidency held a meeting on Thursday in the premises of the Cabinet Affairs office in Khartoum under the chairmanship of President Omar al-Bashir. The meeting was also attended by the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. It was held in the presence of the AU High-level Implementation Panel on Sudan chairperson Mr. Thabo Mbeki.


The meeting discussed three essential questions which include the current security situation in Abyei area, matters related to the documents released by the SPLM Secretary General to the press concerning the alleged plans of Khartoum government to destabilize the GOSS, and the matters of the political resolutions of the Abyei issues.


According to Mr. Thabo Mbeki the two leaders in the meeting agreed to take an immediate action to implement the Kagugli Agreement which addressed the issues of security in Abyei Area, that is, to ensure peace and stability in the area and to avail secured movements of the nomads in the area. Mr. Mbeki said this will be done through the deployment of the JIU forces in the area.

 


President Bashir (centre) chairing the meeting of the Presidency in Khartoum.


Mr. Mbeki also said that the two leaders agreed that the SPLA/SAF must investigate the documents released by the SPLM Secretary General and render a report on the issue back to the Presidency on Sunday so that necessary action is taken against whoever is involved in any action intended to destabilize the GOSS.


Mr. Mbeki also said that the second matter discussed was the concentration of SAF in the north of Abyei area. The meeting resolved that a monitoring mechanism headed by UNMIS with membership of the SPLA and SAF should investigate the issue and make sure that deployment agreement is respected with no violation and no invasion should take place in Abyei by any of the two forces.


Concerning the political resolution on Abyei, Mr. Mbeki ended by saying that the two leaders agreed to resolve it by the end of this month.


By Thomas Kenneth


SPLM and NCP to resume talks

JUBA, 20 March 2011 – Hopes of renewed talks between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the National Congress Party (NCP) have been rekindled following successful recent consultations between the parties in Khartoum.


Addressing the media upon the arrival of the SPLM delegation which was led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the minister for Regional Cooperation, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Deng Alor Koul, explained that the main objective of their mission was to resuscitate the talks on the post-referendum issues which had been suspended following insecurity incidents in Malakal.

 


H.E. Deng Alor addressing the press at the Juba International Airport.


The minister said that the SPLM and the NCP have agreed to set up a team of military intelligence officers from both parties to investigate the recent incidents, and more particularly the attack in Malakal. He said that the team will begin work immediately.


He also said that the parties discussed Abyei issues. He said that the parties resolved to implement the Kaduguli agreement and ensure that all illegal forces in the area are withdrawn. They agreed, he said, that only the three official military agencies will be in the area. He identified the agencies as the JIUs from both the SPLA and the Sudan Armed Forces, the local police and the UN police.


The minister also reported that the delegation discussed the resumption of the negotiations between the SPLM and the NCP on the remaining issues in the CPA and the post-referendum issues. He said that the talks will resume any time now. He expressed hope that the talks will be successful this time round.


Reported by Miriam Maneno


GOSS undersecretaries meet UN Security Council delegation

JUBA, 18 March 2011 – Three undersecretaries in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) on Wednesday met a delegation of experts from the permanent member countries of the United Nations Security Council in Juba.


The meeting discussed options for the role and structure of any possible future UN peacekeeping mission in either North or South Sudan from the period of 9 July 2011 when South Sudan declares independence officially. The delegation was also keen on understanding how any future UN mission to South Sudan should be structured and designed. More particularly, the delegation was keen to hear what did and didn’t work in the current UNMIS configuration and what roles and functions the Government of South Sudan would like to see in the future.

 


The two delegations in discussion.


The UN Security Council delegation visit was made with an open mind and  provided  a good opportunity for the Government of South Sudan representatives to directly influence policy makers of the three permanent members of the UN Security Council.


The undersecretaries were from the Office of the President, the Ministry of Peace and CPA Implementation and the Ministry of Regional Cooperation. They were led by Dr Salaw Berberi, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Regional Cooperation. The UN Security Council delegation comprised of United Kingdom’s Catriona Mace who is the Head of Africa Team; United State’s Sasha Mehra who is the Head of the Peacekeeping Team; and France’s Philippe Voiry who is the Head of the Peacekeeping Unit.


And in a statement to the press, the head of the GOSS team, Dr Salaw Berberi, said that the UN Security Council idea to follow up on the future of UNMIS in the South is good. And she assured the UN Security Council delegation that the Government of South Sudan will look into the issue so as to develop a position on the mandate and the future of UNMIS in the independent South Sudan.


Reported by Miriam Maneno

 


Job Opportunities - Ministry of Labour and Public Service

JUBA, 18 March 2011 - Under-Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Public Service, Government of Southern Sudan, invites applications from suitably qualified Sudanese to fill the position of Director General for Administration and Finance (Grade 2) and Deputy Director of Public Relations (Grade 4). Please, visit the "Career Opportunities" page for the details.


Design for Coat of Arms advert

JUBA, 17 March 2011 - The Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), wishes to invite artists and thinkers to design various symbols of authority, including the Coat of Arms, of the new Republic of South Sudan. Please, click here for the details.


Job Vacancies

JUBA, 17 March 2011 - The Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), has a number of open positions. Please, click here to download the positions available, job descriptions and application details.


Chinese to build model schools in South Sudan

JUBA, 17 March 2011 – The Government of China will construct two model schools in Juba and others in Malakal and Wau.


This was revealed during a meeting between the Undersecretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. George Justin and a visiting Chinese delegation yesterday in his office. The delegation had come to Southern Sudan to follow up on a number of issues discussed during a previous visit to China by a delegation led by H.E. Alfred Lado Gore, the Presidential Advisor on Diplomatic Affairs acting under a directive of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.


Mr. Justin said that the management of the Ministry of Education welcomed the Chinese delegation on behalf of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS). He assured the delegation that the Chinese government initiatives to contribute in education sector were highly welcome. Mr. Justin added that the ministry has also arranged for the Chinese delegation to meet the officials in the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology to review issues of construction of a Southern university. The delegation promised to come back in the near future, with confirmation that they were willing to fulfil their commitment in the construction of model schools in Southern Sudan.

 


The Chinese delegation.
[Photo: Emmanuel Gai Maker]


In another event, the ministry held a general staff meeting in its offices, chaired by the minister, H.E. Dr. Michael Milli Hussein. The Undersecretary and other senior officials in the ministry were in attendance. According to Mr. Kuol Atem Bol, the Acting Director General of Alternative Education, the meeting was of a general nature and dwelt on the problem of students and teachers who are coming from the North, whose background is Arabic language. He reiterated, however, that the ministry was ready to provide them with suitable education programs.


Meanwhile the key issues prior to declaration of new nation on the 9th July 2011 were highlighted, including the national anthem to be introduced in all education institutions at all levels after it is approved. Thereafter it will be sung by school children and the public in general. The meeting also reviewed programs executed since 2006 when the ministry was established by GOSS. In general, staff members were satisfied with all issues addressed at the meeting.


Reported by Barnaba Mabor


2011 budget approved

JUBA, 16 March 2011 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) today approved the 2011 budget of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS).


In the ordinary sitting No: 10/2011 Second Assembly /2011 during the second Session dated Wednesday 16th March 2011 held at the SSLA Main Hall, the members of parliament continued to discuss the GOSS Annual Budget for the Fiscal Year 2011 in its fourth and final reading.


The Appropriation Bill, 2011 was presented to the August House for discussions, deliberation and obvervsions. The Appropriation Bill was comprised of eight pages which covered the GOSS budget. Honourable members deliberated, discussed and came up with observations on the Appropriation Bill and Budget details, which were considered by the August House to be amended before the final Budget is presented to the GOSS President.


After long discussions, deliberations and obvervsions, the Right Hon. Speaker of the SSLA Gen James Wani Igga requested the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, GOSS to move the Bill. After that the Right Hon. Speaker asked the Clerk of the Assembly to read the title of the Budget. The honourable members then stood up and passed the Bill.


The sitting was chaired by the Right Hon. Speaker Gen James Wani Igga. It was also attended by the Deputy Speaker, Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons of SSLA, GOSS ministers as well as the legal advisor and Deputy Clerk of the SSLA. Today’s quorum comprised of 101 honorable members.
 

Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot

 


SPLM economic reform workshop kicks off in Juba

JUBA, 16 March 2011 - A five-day workshop on economic reform under the theme “Growth and Sustainable Development in the coming new Republic of South Sudan” kicked off yesterday at Home and Away Business Centre in Juba.


The participants were welcomed by national secretariat of finance and economic Affairs, Cde. Gabriel Alaak. The conference was also briefed about the importance of the workshop by Cde. Dr. David Mayo as well as Cde. Dr. Anne Itto, the SPLM Deputy Secretariat General (SG). Cde. Pagan Amum Okiech also delivered a speech to the conference and emphasized that the workshop will address all issues related to economic reform.


Several renowned international scholars made presentations on various topics. Dr. Shanta Davarajan World Bank Chief of Economics for Africa region; Professor Lant Pritchett, Harvard University‘s Centre for International Development explained the meaning of the markets and institutions. Professor Tony Venable, Oxford University ‘s Centre for the Analysis of Resources Rich Economy, Dr. Edward Gemayel, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and former Deputy Secretary General, Norwegian Ministry of Finance explained the meaning of the Metronomic for oil rich new country. The presenters also discussed the role of finance institutions as well as agriculture and forestry in economic development in Southern Sudan.


The commercial banking reform in the Republic of South Sudan was presented by Michael Marino of Nile Commercial Bank, John Buong of Ivory Bank, Bacy James of Agriculture Bank of Sudan and Andrew Mayen of Buffalo Commercial Bank. They made the following recommendations:

 

  1. Restructuring and recapitalization of the local banks 75% owned by government;
  2. Credit allocation in order to develop the economy and reduce poverty;
  3. Fund flight, lack of incentive to depositors - BOSS should create Certificate of Depositors ( CDs) to attract the excess cash;
  4. Land reform - land ownership to enable business enterprise access credit;
  5. Fund s allocated to exchange bureaus should be given to local banks and all Forex outlets;
  6. Government should utilize local banks in revenue collection exercise (Taxes and Customs);
  7. Training of accountants and managers in order for local banks to contribute to the economy of South Sudan;
  8. Address the legal reforms such as Judiciary and land reform which has impact on the economy;
  9. Government through BOSS should come up with adequate policies and procedures to protect the customers; and
  10. BOSS should strengthen on site examination and off site surveillance to avoid financial sector inability and bank failure.


Mr. Elijah Malok Aleng, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBS) and President of the Bank of South Sudan (BOSS) also made a presentation on the existing banking institutions in Southern Sudan. He said that there are eight banks in Southern Sudan of which three are foreign. He also said that there are eight microfinance institutions in Southern Sudan. He also said that there are five insurance companies of which one is foreign owned. Mr. Malok also said that there are 33 operating Forexes in Southern Sudan.


Reported by Clement Aturjong


Heritage minister briefs media on preparations of symbols of authority

JUBA, 16 March 2011 – The minister for Culture and Heritage, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Gabriel Changson Chang yesterday briefed the media on various issues relating to symbols of authority of the new country expected on 9th July 2011.


With regard to the Court of Arms/Medals, he said that two adverts inviting artists interested in designing it have been released. The adverts went out on Friday with a final submission date of April 21, 2011. We are doing it as part of the 2011 taskforce. A committee has been appointed to work out the technical aspects. The advert provides guidelines and a panel of nine judges will review the entries. It includes representatives of political parties, women, the army, police, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, civil society and faith-based organisations.


“We would like to have broad based participation on part of the national symbols”, he said. He explained that the ministry is taking this matter seriously because it is important to the new nation since the coat of arms will be used in many critical documents such as passport, nationality identification cards and letterheads, among others. “These must be ready by the 9th of July”, he asserted.


The minister also explained that the medals of honour will be used to honour South Sudan’s great leaders. He said the medals will be of 2 types: Grade 1 will be the first class given to heads of state. There will also be Grade 2 and 3. Other categories will include gold, silver and bronze medallions related to sports activities. He said that the recipients will be segregated into 13 categories.

 


H.E. Changson Chang (left) addressing the media. He is accompanied by Mr. George Garang (second left), the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information.
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


H.E. Chang also announced that the Dr. Garang Mausoleum will be upgraded to suit the July 9th celebrations and make it presentable for the occasion. He said that some of the proposed upgrades include a small monument of about 42mt high to be situated on the grave of Dr. John Garang - the monument will be engraved with names of heroes and martyrs; a memorial wall that will also be engraved with names; a raised stage for declaring independence; a pole for raising the flag high – this will remain as a symbol of independence; and the national museum and archives which will also be built there.


He also said that the Mausoleum may be renamed to reflect the number of services to be offered there. He reported that engineers have already been engaged for designs, which will be present on Friday at the Council of Ministers. Again, he asserted that all construction work must be completed before the 9th of July.


The minister also announced that a small body known as Miss Heritage South Sudan will be established to organise local and international beauty pageants. It will also organise South Sudan cultural shows within and in the neighbouring countries. The body will also conduct training of youth on cultural matters.


Reported by Rosemary Njeri Chacha


Civil servants to offer support for Abyei people

JUBA, 16 March 2011 – The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) workers have been requested by the GOSS minister for Labour and Public Service to donate a day’s salary to facilitate a humanitarian support to the people of Abyei.


This was announced yesterday by the Acting Chairperson of the Abyei Community, Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak. He also reported that the Governor of Warrap state has made a similar request for the state government workers to support the victims of the recent fighting in the Abyei region.


Mr. Majak, who is also the Director General of Information, GOSS Ministry of Information, made these announcements when he met a group of Abyei community members from Juba and the Diaspora in his office yesterday evening. During the meeting, he briefed the community members on the visit of the region by the GOSS ministers for SPLA and Veteran Affairs, H.E. Nhial Deng and Regional Cooperation, H.E. Deng Alor. He said that GOSS, under the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit is committed to protecting the people of Abyei who, he emphasized, are people of Southern Sudan. He also appealed to the community members to complement what the government is doing.


During the meeting which was attended by over 33 members of the community, a representative of Abyei women in Kampala, Uganda expressed their solidarity with the people of Abyei on the ground. She informed the meeting that in spite of the fact that they have inadequate resources to assist the affected people of Abyei and especially IDPs displaced by recent fighting, they have managed to donate some non-food and food items including 30 bags of CSB, 10 bags of beans, six jericans of oil and 4 bags of salt as well as non food items such as clothes. She said they are working to transport the donations to Abyei.

 


Mr. Majak (centre) chairing the community meeting yesterday.


Ms Awor Kuol Chol also explained the role they played in collecting non-food and food items in Khartoum and Juba for the same cause. She said that the community of Abyei in Juba managed to collect about SDG 11,500 within ten days. She also said that the community has held a banquet in Juba for Abyei victims in which it collected about SDG 21,000. She said that the committee has been contacted by musician John Kodosay who has expressed willingness to perform charity concerts for the victims of Abyei fighting. She said that the concerts will be held this week or next week.


The members also elected seven people to form the Abyei Humanitarian Aid Committee. The committee is as follows:-


1. Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak - chairperson
2. Dr. Nykiir Ajang Jafor - member
3. Ms Awor Kuol Chol - member
4. Mr. Kuol Bagat - member
5. Mr. Kat Chol Fouk - member
6. Mr. Ajak Ashuel - member
7. Ms Abuk Ashuel - member


The committee will be the official contact for any humanitarian issues for the people of Abyei.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot


Human rights to be included in schools syllabi

JUBA, 15 March 2011 – Issues relating to human rights will be included in the schools syllabi in the independent South Sudan, the chairman of the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission (SSHRC), Mr. Lawrence Korbandy, has revealed.


Addressing the weekly media forum hosted by the Ministry of Information, Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), Mr. Korbandy explained that the inclusion of human rights matters in the educational curricula follows a directive on the issue by the GOSS President Salva Kiir Mayardit last year. Mr. Korbandy underscored the role of education in concretizing respect for human rights in Southern Sudan.


Mr. Korbandy explained that Southern Sudan has progressed much better compared to its neighbours, including the North, which is yet to establish a human rights commission. He said that human rights are enshrined in the constitution. He explained that having the bill of rights in the constitution ensures that it remains even if there is a change of government. He said the mandate of the commission which encompasses good governance, respecting human dignity, provision of basic services, women’s rights, child rights, privacy and right to life is defined by the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission Act.

 


Mr. Korbandy (left) addresses the media in the company of H.E. Dr. Marial (right).
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]


The SSHRC chairman also reported that the commission has set up offices in eight states of Southern Sudan since 2006. He also said that the commission has participated in monitoring important events such as the general elections and the referendum. The commission has also organised seminars and workshops for chiefs and the armed forces.


Admitting that the commission faces myriad challenges hampering its efforts to establish a footprint all over the country, he appealed to the general public and the media to collaborate with it in ensuring that the society respects human rights. He also called on the people to discard obsolete cultural practices which infringe on the rights of any segment of the society.


In response to a question relating to the current violence in Malakal and reported human rights abuses against the public, Mr. Korbandy compared the situation in Southern Sudan to what happened in Mozambique prior to its independence. He said that some general who had fallen out with FRELIMO was allegedly supported by South Africa, Rhodesia and other countries to destabilize the country. He said some people had not expected Southern Sudan to be a democratic and friendly nation. He said that these same people are the ones causing problems. He regretted that the consequences of such action have been loss of human life and inability of children to go to school. He added that the commission is monitoring the situation very closely.


Reported by Rosemary Njeri Chacha


NCP is working to destabilize Southern Sudan

JUBA, 15 March 2011 – H.E. Pagan Amum, the minister for Peace and CPA Implementation in the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) yesterday announced that the National Congress Party (NCP) is working with militia groups to destabilize Southern Sudan.


Addressing a press conference in Juba, H.E. Amum said that GOSS and the SPLM have obtained communication and documents which confirm this. He reported that the NCP is collaborating with what it describes as “friendly forces” in these plans to cause havoc in the South. He identified Dr. Lam Akol and Gen George Athor as some of the people working with the NCP to destabilize the South. He also said that President Omar al-Bashir is aware of these plots.


H.E. Amum also revealed that the national government has directed the telephone operators to monitor and intercept telephone conversations of leading SPLM figures, especially those involved in the CPA implementation.

 


H.E. Amum (centre) addresses the media accompanied by H.E. Marial (left). On the right is the Advisor to the minister of Information, Mr. David Nok Marial.


The minister also said that the NCP seems to be treating the SPLM and GOSS as an enemy. He said that the NCP is arming militia groups and deploying them along the borders and other areas in the region to fight GOSS and the people of Southern Sudan. He said that the documents in his custody confirm that the NCP provided military supplies to Southern rebels at Kosti. He asserted that the so-called opposition political parties are military agents of the NCP bent to destabilize their own country.


In spite of these accusations, the minister emphasized that GOSS/SPLM is still keen on reaching peaceful consensus on pending issues. “GOSS has a vision for mutual respect between the two emerging states”, he said. He also said that GOSS is working tirelessly to ensure that the two states live peacefully side by side.


He expressed hope that the NCP will come back to the negotiation table so that issues like Abyei, border demarcation, currency, oil sharing, and others can be resolved amicably. However, he pointed out that it would not be easy to cooperate with the NCP if it is bent on destabilizing the South. “How can you share resources with someone who is destabilizing you”, he wondered.


The minister also assured the people of Southern Sudan that their government is capable of defending them and is committed to do so. The press conference was also attended by H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the GOSS minister for Information.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot


Budget sails through third reading

JUBA, 14 March 2011 – The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) today passed the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) 2011 budget through its third reading.


Prof. Barri A. Wanji, the Chairperson of the SSLA’s Economy, Development and Finance Committee presented the budget in its third reading during the Second Session Assembly/2011/Second Session/2011 Ordinary Sitting No. 8/2011 dated 14th March, 2011 held at the SSLA main Hall in Juba.


After deliberation and discussions a motion terminating debate on the issue was raised by Hon. Zechariah Matoor Makuei of Rumbek Centre Constituency (SPLM). He argued that the draft budget had been deliberated extensively by the August House in its second reading. The motion was second by honorable members.


However, before putting the matter to vote, the SSLA Speaker Right Hon. James Wani Igga gave a chance to Hon. Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to comment and respond to the issues raised by honorable members.


The minister stressed that there are no macroeconomic indicators which can be quoted by the minister at the moment but reported that the indicators will be released as soon as they are produced by Statistics department. He accepted to produce quarterly reports to the SSLA. He complained of many road blocks which he said are hindering taxation and in general the economy process as well as state taxation. He said that the ministry will harmonize the taxation system.


The minister also said that 2 million USD has been paid by GEMTEL Company to Ministry of Finance. The money was borrowed from the ministry. He also reported that the company has promised to pay the balance in due course. The minister also pledged to brief the SSLA will on donor funds.


The minister also called upon the SPLM –DC members not to politicize the issue of SPLA soldiers because even though they had not been paid during struggle they managed to liberate the people of Southern Sudan. He said that low payment of the SPLA officers is under discussion and will be resolved.


Prof. Wanji decried the over-reliance on oil revenues by Southern Sudan. He said that the government should broaden its revenue base as from 9 July 2011. He said that the country should be self-reliant and stop importing basic commodities from its neighbours such as Kenya and Uganda.


The motion was finally put to vote. 127 honorable members voted to terminate the debate and pass the budget in its third reading while 3 members of SPLM-DC opposed it. Thus, the budget passed its third reading with the members requesting the committee to work on the amendments and present the new draft to the SSLA for the fourth and final reading tomorrow at 3 PM.


Reported by Clement Aturjong Kuot


SSCCSE launches 2010 statistical yearbook for South Sudan

JUBA, 10 March 2011 – The Southern Sudan Centre for Census Statistics and Evaluation (SSCCSE) yesterday launched the 2010 statistical yearbook for South Sudan. The statistical yearbook is published annually by the SSCCSE and is intended to be a reference document providing statistical information for each year.


In his opening remarks, the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who was the guest of honour at the launch, congratulated the SSCCSE on the preparation and launching of the Statistical Yearbook 2010. He also expressed great pleasure in the presentations delivered by the SSCCSE senior officials and the directors of the GIS information system, and Economics and Statistics. The Vice President acknowledged the importance of the SSCCSE in providing vital information to government agencies as well as to NGOs.


He said that knowledge is power and is important for targeting interventions and choosing (development) priorities adding that the centre offered a signal service to the government. “Without information no direction can be reached neither can the national goals be achieved”. He also said that the data is also an important tool for the media and all the people of Southern Sudan.


The Vice President reiterated the need for statistics in every sector of the economy saying that quantifiable data is to some degree a measure of progress or failure. He reiterated that no sector was outside the purview of statistics and every sector was quantifiable to a degree. He added that statistical data collection enhances the measurement of the government’s actions and plans and is important as food security is central to development.

 


H.E. Machar addressing guests at the launch.


He said that decades of long wars had deprived Southern Sudan of the opportunity of development in various fields and it deserves to see quick realization of development and the peace dividend. He encouraged the SSCCSE to continue providing a sound base of information for Southern Sudan. With regard to the GIS, he said that the South had previously been denied GIS because it was an American technology owing to the sanctions on Sudan. He said that now that it is available, it should be taught in institutions of higher learning. He emphasized that there should be greater utilization of GIS in government and that it should be available in all units dealing with statistics such as Ministry of Health and others. He said that this would help reduce the workload of SSCCSE as line ministries would also be conducting their own surveys. He concluded that as Southern Sudan becomes a state, the Centre should consider a new name in the light of the fact that independent nations have (statistical) bureaus. He also suggested that the name should be shorter.


On his part, the chairperson of the SSCCSE, H.E. Isaiah Chol Aruai said that the 2010 Yearbook is more detailed than the previous editions. He also said that the current edition also contains information on the Food and Nutrition Security Assessment in Sudan and highlights a variety of food security indicators including undernourishment, dietary energy consumption and the depth of hunger.


The chairperson also said that capacity building is one of the greatest challenges the centre faces. He explained that it takes a long time and costs a lot of money. He clarified that low human capacity was not the issue but low levels of skills. He said that SSCCSE staff had proven that given the skills they were able to rise to the challenge and perform. He said that when many of the staff joined the centre they were not trained to produce maps, prepare complex statistical syntax or design sample surveys which are some of the highly technical tasks being carried out by SSCCSE staff.


The chairperson also thanked the Government of Southern Sudan which assisted the Centre with budgetary allocations; the UNDP for funding the production of the Yearbook; and other organizations which helped in data collection as well as FAO which furnished the Centre with data on the food security report.


Reported by Barnaba Mabor Mayom

 


Summary of decisions of the SPLM/NCP negotiations of the Finance, Economic and Natural Resources Cluster

JUBA, 10 March 2011 - The two parties to the negotiations duly represented by their appointed representatives discussed diligently the issues tabled for negotiations and made the following decisions:

 

  1. The debt relief shall be jointly carried out by the two parties through an appeal letter to the creditors only if the outstanding CPA issues are squarely resolved, namely, oil related matters, redemption of the SDGs by the CBOS once the South Sudan state introduces its new currency, border demarcation, Abyei and security.
  2. The oil sub-cluster of both parties discussed a range of issues on oil after July 9th 2011. There were no agreements on access to oil and the ownership to the pipeline and other related assets such as refineries.
  3. The sub-cluster on banking and currency managed to agree on setting up technical committees to follow up banking related matters but failed to agree on currency redemption by CBOS.
  4. The sub-cluster on debt and assets agreed on a joint letter to the creditors but conditioned such joint approach with substantive progress on issues stated in resolution (1) above.
  5. Both parties agreed for a follow up meeting scheduled for April 2011.


SPLM/NCP Heads of the Sub-Clusters:


- H.E.Pagan Amum, Lead Negotiator
- H.E. Idris Abde Kadir, Lead Negotiator.
- H.E. Kosti Manibe, Head of the Cluster
- H.E. Saeed Al Katieb, Head of Cluster
- H.E. Paul Mayom Akec, Head of Sub-Cluster (Oil)
- H.E. Al Fatih Al- Nour, Head of Sub-cluster (Debt)
- H.E. Dr. Sabir Ahmed, Head of Sub-Cluster (Banking and Currency)
- H.E. Changson Lew Chang, Sub-Cluster (Banking and Currency)
 

Mediation & Facilitation: AUHIP, USA, NORWAY.
Prepared by: SS2011 Taskforce, Observer Status