Oil Revenues Should Be Directed Towards Agriculture, Says Speaker

Speaker James Wani Igga addressing a public rally in July. [Gurtong | File]

James Wani Igga told South Sudanese lawmakers yesterday during the opening of the assembly that poor infrastructure in the agricultural sector hinders the diversification of the sector.

“It is only poor roads conditions hampering food to come to the national capital,” Igga said.

“Learning from the past lessons where economic waves went across the land, at this point in time we must drive the oil revenue…towards enhancing agricultural and mineral exploitation,” said the Speaker.

South Sudan still depends on food imports from East Africa to feed its population despite abundant and fertile land in the country.

Despite farmer’s efforts of investing hugely in agriculture, reports indicate that the heavy rains experiences in most parts of the country have destroyed some crops.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) last week warned that food prices are expected to rise following the mass rain destruction in the agricultural sector.

The UN had earlier on this year warned at least 2.4 million people in South Sudan are food insecure.   
South Sudan after striking a deal with Sudan last month on resumption of oil production announced preparations are on way for the oil production to start in a few months time.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir yesterday said the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining had made a visit to the refineries in a bid to assess the conditions of the facilities including the pipelines.

Oil revenues funds over 90 per cent of the South Sudan government’s expenditure.

As part of his statement to the August House, Wani said that despite reports that the South Sudanese government is moving in a good direction, many sectors have remained challenging and urged the leaders to focus on robust approaches. 

He pointed out that illiteracy rate in the new nation is still reported at around 70 per cent and corruption is still rated high in some sectors. 

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