Agriculture minister warns of looming famine

JUBA, 28 July 2011 – The caretaker minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Hon. Dr. Anne Itto has warned of a possible famine in the country and urged all the South Sudanese to increase their efforts in food production activities during the second season, beginning August, to escape it.

“I am appealing to everybody who has a hoe and a piece of land whether in Juba or elsewhere in the countryside to cultivate it and plant maize, cassava, or sorghum; do something however small”, she said.

Dr. Itto explained that the food situation caused by the ongoing drought in the horn of Africa is grave and that 12.4 million people are at risk. She said that Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti, Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan are affected by the drought which has been described as the worst in sixty years.

The caretaker minister said that even though the situation in South Sudan is not classified as serious at the moment, the risk is real given that the country seals its food deficits through imports from the neighbouring countries which are adversely affected. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that even though South Sudan began the year with a food deficit of 300,000 metric tonnes, it has continued to receive thousands of returnees from the North and elsewhere.


Dr. Itto addressing the media at the Juba International Airport.
[Photo: Gabriel Lawrence]

The minister warned that if the situation is not remedied proactively then it is just a matter of time before the pangs of famine bite South Sudanese households. She reminded the people of the 1998 drought and the subsequent famine which devastated Bahr el Ghazal and appealed to them to boost food production in the second season to avert the looming catastrophe.

“If we mobilize ourselves effectively for the second season then we may get enough food and escape the famine situation our neighbours are facing”, she said. She urged the people to take the issue seriously and make the best use of the second season.

Dr. Itto also appealed to South Sudanese to engage in food production actively by increasing the acreage under cultivation so as to avoid over-reliance on its neighbours. “You cannot have a new country which cannot feed itself”, she cautioned.

The caretaker minister made these remarks this morning when she addressed the media at the Juba International Airport when she arrived from Rome after attending a ministerial meeting on the food situation in the Horn of Africa. She explained that the meeting had been organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Presidency of the G10 countries.

Roads ministry fetes first female Sudanese pilot

JUBA, 27 July 2011 – The Ministry of Roads and Transport today held a reception in honour of Captain Aluel James Bol, the first female pilot in the whole of Sudan.

Speaking at the luncheon held at the “Home and Away” hotel in Juba, the caretaker minister for Roads and Transport Hon Anthony Lino Makana said that Captain Aluel, who currently flies Air Ethiopia, has set a good example for all young women in the Republic of South Sudan.

Hon Makana also said that Captian Aluel, an employee of the ministry, is helping South Sudan to negotiate for direct flights to Juba from Dubai and other cities in the world. He also said that she has been instrumental in initiatives to ensure airport security all over South Sudan.


Captain Aluel (standing) addressing the luncheon. From left to right, Hon Kwaje, Hon Makana and Engineer Chol look on.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

“Women can no longer be restricted to the kitchen; they are flying high and even the sky is not the limit”, Hon Makana asserted.

The caretaker minister for Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Hon Agnes Kwaje advised girls not to rush into early marriages but to pursue education and career development before starting families. She also appealed to families all over South Sudan to support the girl-child to enable them compete favourably with their male counterparts for opportunities in life.

Hon Kwaje encouraged girls to emulate the good example set by Captain Aluel. “If Aluel who is an orphan can make it, every other girl in South Sudan can make it too”, she said. She commended Captain Aluel for demonstrating that it is possible to excel in spite of one’s background. “You are the pride of South Sudan”, she said.

Speaking at the same event, the governor of Lakes State Engineer Chol Tong said that women in the state have a history of venturing in fields perceived to be reserved for men. He cited the example of the late Ager Gum who was the first female SPLA Commander who hailed from the state. He cautioned girls not to make excuses for mediocre performance but to work hard and excel just like boys.

Engineer Chol reported that Lakes State pays school fees for deserving girls. He called upon other state governments as well as the central government to do likewise. He also called on all South Sudanese to stop negative traditions especially those which discriminate the girls. “We should be courageous enough and condemn these harmful traditions and the people who perpetuate them”, he said.


Captain Aluel (left) posing with a friend at the luncheon.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

Professor Isaac Riak, an uncle to Captain Aluel, described her as a curious, intelligent and disciplined girl who was destined to be an achiever. He also commended her for returning to serve her motherland. He said that it is through such acts of patriotism that the new Republic can grow. He expressed confidence that the new country will soon have its own airlines and that Captain Aluel will fly them.

Captain Aluel, who hails from Lakes State, is the daughter of the late Justice James Bol. She was overwhelmed by the gesture and was unable to say much. She obtained her aviation training from the United States of America through the support of the then Government of Southern Sudan via the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare.

The event was also attended by Hon Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the caretaker minister for Information as well as Hon Kosti Manibe, the caretaker minister for Cabinet Affairs. Senior officers from the Ministry of Roads and Transport, the SPLM and other government agencies also attended the luncheon.

President Kiir reviews parliamentary issues with speaker

JUBA, 26 July 2011 - The President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit yesterday evening in his office reviewed the important issues about the two houses, the National Legislative Assembly and the Council of States, with Rt Hon. James Wani Igga.

Rt. Hon. Igga announced to the press that due to the current political developments they decided that the two houses should be ready in Juba by the 1st August 2011, so that each of the two houses can begin sittings around the 3rd or 4th of August 2011.

The speaker also said that the joint sitting of the National Legislative Assembly and the Council of the States will be on the 5th August 2011, and will be addressed by the President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth (P.P.U/RSS)

CBSS shortens currency conversion period

JUBA, 26 July 2011 – The Central Bank of South Sudan (CBSS) has shortened the currency conversion period to one and a half months beginning from the 18th July 2011 and ending on 1st September 2011.

This change of schedule has been necessitated by the launch of a new currency by the Republic of Sudan. The CBSS is asking all the people to comply with the new schedule and cautions that any old currencies which will not have been exchanged by the end of the period will be rendered valueless.

The CBSS is advising the general public to go to the designated centres nearest to them and exchange the currencies. All the commercial banks are exchange centres. The CBSS has asked them to allocate specific counters for this exercise.

Any persons or companies with more than SDG 50,000 in cash have been advised to open bank accounts and deposit the money there. All funds held in bank accounts will be exchanged automatically. The banks have also been advised to report any suspicious deposits and fund movements which may signal money laundering and other crimes to the CBSS. The banks have also been asked to report cases of counterfeit notes as well.

In a memo from the CBSS signed by Mr. Kornelio Koriom Mayik who is the chairperson of the South Sudan Currency Conversion Committee, the commercial banks have been directed not to make any payments in SDG henceforth.

The currency conversion exercise had crippled the services of Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) in the country. This was largely due to the introduction of new denominations which required reprogramming of ATM systems. Similarly, the change in the size of the currency – the SSP is smaller than the SDG – also caused a major challenge. The issues have now been addressed and the ATM services have resumed normally.

President Kiir meets Canadian delegation

JUBA, 25 July 2011 - The President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit has appreciated the Canadian government for sheltering South Sudanese refugees in their country and mostly for providing the people of South Sudan with humanitarian assistance during the struggle.

The President expressed the appreciation during his meeting today with a Canadian delegation headed by the Policy Advisor to the minister for International Cooperation Mrs. Alayna Johnson. H.E Kiir further appealed for more development assistance from the Canadian government in the areas of agriculture, roads, maternal health and education.

The Canadian Policy Advisor Mrs. Jonhson reassured in a press statement that Canada will always be supportive to the people of South Sudan and help the new state to realize a prosperous future. She said the Canadian government congratulates South Sudan for establishing a new independent country.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

Dr. Machar briefs President Kiir on New York meetings

JUBA, 25 July 2011 - The President of the Republic of South Sudan H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit was today briefed by the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar on the UN General Assembly meetings that resulted in the admission of the new state of South Sudan to the international community.

Dr. Machar said Rwanda sponsored the recommendation bill of accepting South Sudan to the international community, while South Africa introduced the bill to the Security Council. He explained that there is international goodwill and expectations for South Sudan in the region and internationally which needs to be harnessed through the establishment of South Sudan embassies abroad.

Dr. Machar added that South Africa and the US organized a party for South Sudan independence and was attended by the Security Council members.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth

“Sudan has declared an economic war on South Sudan”, Hon Amum

JUBA, 25 July 2011 – The Republic of Sudan seems to have declared an economic war against its neighbour the Republic of South Sudan, Hon Pagan Amum has said.

Hon Amum who is the minister for Peace and CPA Implementation and also the Secretary General of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said that the Sudan is hostile to the new country and seems hell-bent to crush its economy.

He cited yesterday’s release of a new currency in the North as one of the strategies aimed at stifling the economic growth in the Republic of South Sudan by denying her the negotiated right to return the old currency, the Sudanese Pound (SDG) to the North upon release of its own currency.

The minister explained that South Sudan used to buy the SDG from the North using hard currency and stands to lose USD 700 million if the currency was to be reduced to mere paper. He dismissed allegations by the North that it was not aware of the plans by the South to release its own currency. He said that this issue had been discussed and agreed on in Addis Ababa in January 2011. As a matter of fact, he explained that the South even shared the features of the proposed currency with the North in March this year.

“The release of the currency by the North is intended to destroy the economy of the Republic of South Sudan; they do not want to take responsibility of the old currency”, he said.

Hon Amum termed the North’s action as hostile and unbecoming of a neighbour. He said that the action is ill-advised will affect both countries adversely. He made these remarks when he addressed the media at the SPLM’s headquarters in Juba today.

Hon Amum explains resignation

JUBA, 25 July 2011 – Hon Pagan Amum today explained why he attempted to resign from the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) on the 11 July 2011.

Addressing the press at the party’s headquarters in Juba, Hon Amum explained that he felt it was time for him to give room to new blood in both the government and the party. He said he felt that his objective was completed with the independence of South Sudan and wanted to create space for younger people to continue the next phase of the liberation, that is, nation building.

He clarified that even if his resignation had been accepted he would still remain a member of the party and would have still served in the Political Bureau as well as the National Liberation Council as a private citizen.

Hon Amum denied allegations that he had been pushed to resign due to differences within the party. He said that there had been no such differences and that the party is strong and united. He also denied the speculation that he resigned to avoid queries into his performance.


Hon Amum addressing the press in Juba today.
[Photo: Matata Safi]

He explained that he had taken time to think the issue exhaustively and arrived at the decision after elaborate soul-searching. He said that he has now renewed his drive and will continue to serve the party and government unreservedly.

The minister also said that his priority in the government is to spearhead the negotiations on outstanding issues between the North and the South. He reported that the chairperson of the negotiations, Mr Thabo Mbeki, is expected in Juba tomorrow to hold consultations with the SPLM after which the way forward on the negotiations will be decided.

Hon Amum also said that he will also concentrate on building the party in preparations for the third convention in which new leaders will be elected.

The minister took oath of office on Saturday putting to an end weeks of speculation about his resignation. He pledged that he will serve the Republic of South Sudan in the best way possible. He reminded the media of his devotion to his country which dates back to the time he willingly dropped out of the university to join the struggle. He said that nothing can distract him from these ideals.

Sudan rejects budgetary assistance from South Sudan

JUBA, 25 July 2011 – The government of Sudan has rejected a proposal of budgetary support from the Republic of South Sudan.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that Sudan will have an annual budgetary gap of about USD 5.4 billion. The minister for Peace and CPA Implementation, Hon Pagan Amum, explained the Republic of South Sudan had proposed to help its neighbour to seal the gap by providing USD 1.6 billion (34 percent of the deficit) but the Sudan has rejected the offer.

He also reported that Sudan has claimed that it will incur an annual loss of USD 15 billion occasioned by cessation of wealth sharing arrangement with the South. He said that the variance between this figure and the one provided by the IMF can only be explained by the fact that the North used to take a lion’s share of the oil resources through underhand mechanisms.

The minister also reported that the North has demanded fees of USD 22.8 per barrel of the oil exports from the South. He said that this rate is outrageous and does not tally with the rates elsewhere in the world. He cited the case of Cameroun which charges Chad USD .41 (41 cents) for exporting oil through it. He said that even in Europe, the highest rates are still below USD 2 for the longest pipelines.

“The fees is daylight robbery aimed at looting South Sudan and its people”, he said. He called on the North to be realistic and play by the international trade treaties. He said that South Sudan has options to export oil through Djibouti, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya but admitted that these options will take time to realize because the infrastructure has to be built from scratch. In the meantime, he appealed to Sudan to charge South Sudan realistic fees given that the pipelines were constructed with joint national resources.

He particularly called on President Omar al-Bashir to honour his pledge to unconditionally recognize the Republic of South Sudan and support it. He reported that these issues will be discussed at the negotiation forum in Addis Ababa. Other issues earmarked for negotiations are the fate of Abyei, North-South border demarcation, free movement of goods between the two countries, and discrimination of South Sudanese working or doing business in the North.

Hon Pagan Amum takes oath of office

JUBA, 23 July 2011 - The SPLM Secretary General Mr. Pagan Amum Okech was today Saturday 23rd July 2011 sworn in before the President of the Republic H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit as the caretaker minister for Peace in the national government of South Sudan.

After the swearing in ceremony, Hon Amum appreciated H.E the President of the Republic for honouring him with the responsibility of taking care of the Ministry of Peace. Hon Amum said he will work hard in supporting the President and implement his policies on the ground in this critical stage as South Sudan matures as a nation.

The caretaker minister also added that he is happy to be part of SPLM and part of the government under the leadership of H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit. He reiterated his happiness for the new state of South Sudan which is now recognized by 192 countries worldwide. He called on the people of South Sudan to forget the past and free themselves for the building of the newborn nation.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth Elisapana
P.P.U - RSS, Juba

Information minister urges peaceful coexistence

JUBA, 22 July 2011 – The caretaker minister for Information of the Republic of South Sudan Hon. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin has called upon all South Sudanese to coexist peacefully, unite and build their country.

Dr. Marial also called on the people to work hard and develop their motherland. He urged the various communities to participate effectively in the development of education, healthcare, roads and clean drinking water systems especially in the rural areas.


Dr. Marial posing for a photo with the delegation.
[Photo: Ajang Monychol]

The caretaker minister made this appeal today when he hosted a delegation of the Lau Nuer community from the greater Upper Nile in his office in Juba. He asked the communities in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states to forget the past conflicts, reconcile and live in harmony for the sake of the new Republic.

Mr. Samuel Badid Both who spoke on behalf of the delegation reiterated the commitment of the community to pursue peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and peace wherever they live. He also underscored the role of patriotism and nationalism in peace building all over the Republic of South Sudan.

Reported by William Jufur

DRC foreign minister congratulates South Sudan for independence

JUBA, 21 July 2011 – The Foreign Affairs minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Hon Alexis Thambwe-Mwamba today congratulated the people of South Sudan for attaining their independence.

Speaking at the Juba International Airport where he was received by the caretaker minister for Foreign Affairs in the Republic of South Sudan Hon Deng Alor Koul, Hon Thambwe-Mwamba said that his mission to Juba is to pay respect and recognition to the new Republic of South Sudan.


Hon Alor (right) confers with Hon Thambwe-Mwamba (left).
[Photo: Miriam Maneno]

Hon Thambwe-Mwamba emphasized that his massage to the people of the new Republic of South Sudan is to live peacefully and enjoy their independence.

On his part, Hon Alor underscored the commitment of the Republic of South Sudan to cooperate with the neighbouring countries to strengthen bilateral ties and also to address issues of mutual interest.

Reported by Miriam Maneno

Justice Minister urges respect for the National Coat of Arms

JUBA, 21 July 2011 – The caretaker minister for Justice of the Republic of South Sudan John Luk Jok has urged all the people to respect the National Coat of Arms and treat it with the dignity it deserves, both at home and abroad.

Through a circular to all government institutions, the minister has directed that the National Coat of Arms should not be part of any logos. He said that in accordance with Section 10(1) of the National Coat Arms Act, 2011, no government institution or public corporation shall use the Coat of Arms on its correspondences as its logo.

The Act only allows the Coat of Arms to be displayed in or on the South Sudan Television, official government publications, National Flag, special means of transport of the President, distinguished badges signifying rank and specific headgear of the organized forces, a gift in the name of the government, and the front or facing side of government missions abroad.

The Coat of Arms may also be affixed to all correspondence from the Office of the President, all official correspondence issued by the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers, and all official correspondence issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the governments of foreign countries, international organizations and foreign diplomatic missions in the Republic of South Sudan.

The Act also states that no person shall perform any act with the intent to disgrace the Coat of Arms or any object of which the Coat of Arms is a constituent part. It also outlaws the use of the Coat of Arms as part of any trademarks or logos or otherwise used for the purpose of business advertisement.

The National Coat of Arms Act also calls on all South Sudanese to protect the African Kingfisher Eagle which is the Coat of Arms of the Republic of South Sudan. “Any person who causes any harm or kills an African Kingfisher Eagle shall be punishable under this law”, it says in part.

European parliamentary committee delegation in Juba

JUBA, 20 July 2011 – A delegation of the European Parliamentary Committee on Development is in Juba to acquaint itself with the development needs in the new country.

During a meeting with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Peace and CPA Implementation Beatrice Khamisa Wani at the ministry’s offices in Juba today, the delegation discussed the priority development areas in which the European Union can partner with the new Republic of South Sudan.

The head of the delegation Mr. Patrice Tirolien told the press after the meeting that the European Union is appealing to the international community to give South Sudan a chance and support its socio-economic agenda. He admitted that given that the country emerged from war recently, there are still many developmental gaps to be addressed. He appealed to the international community to help fill the gaps.

Mr. Tirolien also reported that they had discussed how to facilitate the safe movement of the internally displaced persons along the borders, especially those fleeing from the mayhem in Abyei.

On her part, Madam Khamisa reiterated that the Republic of South Sudan is keen to maintain a cordial relationship with Sudan given the common history and cultures the two countries share. She also said that the Republic of South Sudan is pursuing amicable resolution of the outstanding issues such as North-South border demarcation and security.

Madam Khamisa also appreciated the role played by the European Union in the development of South Sudan during and after the war. She expressed hope that the bloc would continue to provide similar support to the new country.

Reported by Lindri Godfrey Alex

Vacancy - Tax Director, Warrap

JUBA, 20 July 2011 - Warrap State’s Ministry of Finance, Trade and Industry is seeking to recruit a Tax Director in a grade (3) super scale in the Directorate of Taxation. Please, click here for the full advertisement, job description and other details.

Information minister urges states to disseminate information widely

JUBA, 19 July 2011 – The caretaker minister for Information, Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin today urged the state governments to disseminate information from the states widely so that the rest of the country and the international community can be adequately informed of the events and development projects in their respective states.

The caretaker minister made this appeal when he hosted a delegation from Jonglei state led by the Deputy Governor Hussein Mar in his office in Juba this morning. He congratulated the people of Jonglei for celebrating the independence of the Republic of South Sudan peacefully.

Dr. Marial also underscored the role of the media in stimulating dialogue and unity in the pursuit of national ideals and development in the new Republic. He cited radio and television as some of the media channels that the state governments can utilize to inform the citizens effectively.

On his part, the deputy governor said that there are many development projects in the state which have not been adequately covered by the media. He reported that strategies are now in place to ensure effective coverage of the state in the near future.

The deputy governor also relayed the congratulatory message of the people of Jonglei to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the people of the Republic of South Sudan on the realization of independence of the new state.

“I wish to assure the President that the leadership and people of Jonglei state are behind him”, he said.

Reported by William Jufur

Scholarship opportunities

JUBA, 18 July 2011 – The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Republic of South Sudan is announcing the availability of scholarships for the study of a Master’s degree in Vocational Pedagogy.

The scholarship opportunity is sponsored by the NORAD programme of Masters Studies (NOMA) in conjunction with Kyambogo University, Akershus University (Norway) and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology.

The consortium is offering ten scholarship opportunities for South Sudanese to undertake the Master’s programme beginning in August 2011. This will be a two-year full time programme leading to the award of a Master of Vocational Pedagogy of Kyambogo University, Kampala, Uganda.

Vocational Pedagogy consists of education oriented towards teaching, training and learning in relation to work and the labour market. It acknowledges the interplay between working life and education systems.

Those seeking consideration for the scholarships should have an honour’s degree in any vocational or professional field; work experience of at least two years; a recommendation from the employer; as well as a statement of purpose or motivation (up to one page). Possession of 60-80 credit in Pedagogy/Education will be an added advantage. Candidates having professional training which can be validated to be equivalent to the requirements above are eligible for consideration.

The interested candidates are advised to seek more information from the Undersecretary in the Ministry, Mr. Mou Mou Athian Kuol.

Invitation for Bids (IFB) – MoHERST, GOSS

JUBA, 18 July 2011 - The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology has been allocated funds by the Government of South Sudan and it intends to apply part of the allocation for the supply and delivery of foodstuffs for students at the University of Bahr el Ghazal. Please, visit the "Tenders" page for more details.

Council of ministers approve launch of new currency

JUBA, 16 July 2011 - The first meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of South Sudan held yesterday under the chairmanship of H.E Gen. Salva Kiir Mayrdit discussed issues of finance and economy of the new republic, especially the issues related to the introduction of the new currency of South Sudan.

According to the caretaker minister for Information and Official Spokesman of the government H.E Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the council reiterated that the launching of the new currency of South Sudan will be done on the 18th July 2011. Dr. Marial also said that the President of the Republic is expected to be the first South Sudan citizen to go to the bank to exchange his money.

Dr. Marial said the Central Bank of South Sudan will designate areas to which the citizens will be requested to go and exchange their money within a period of two months. He also said that strict security arrangements will be introduced during the currency exchange. The minister also said that the exchange rate is one to one (1 SDG = 1 SSP).

Dr. Marial also reported that the council is requesting all the media houses to announce to the public daily the importance of changing their money within the stipulated period.

Dr. Marial also reported that President Kiir stressed the importance of building South Sudan economy by harnessing the local natural resources. He said that during the meeting, President of the Republic briefed the council that the United Nations Security Council unanimously endorsed the membership of the Republic of South Sudan as a member of the United Nations General Assembly, and that on the 14th July 2011 the United Nations General Assembly also unanimously admitted South Sudan as the country number 193 in the United Nations.

President Kiir congratulated the people of the Republic of South Sudan for this great achievement and called on the citizens to take charge of their affairs knowing that the country is now recognized by the international community.

Dr. Marial also told the press that the authorities in Khartoum have stopped newspapers from coming to South Sudan. He said that the country will continue receiving newspapers from other countries such as Egypt and East Africa.

Reported by Thomas Kenneth