By Morris Dogga
The South Sudan Chamber of Commerce is demanding for the removal of the fuel subsidies given to Nile Petroleum Corporation (Nilepet) in order to reduce fuel price in the country.
After a two-day discussion that ended yesterday, the members resolved that they will fully support the idea of removing the fuel subsidies.
This year, the Ministry of Finance and Planning’s budget for 2017-2018, Nilepet is expected to have up to USD 183 million (SSP 28.3 billion) to import subsidized fuel for domestic consumption.
Simon Akuei Deng, the Secretary General of South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture told the press that they see no benefit of keeping the fuel subsidies because it was not benefiting anyone in the country.
“When fuel is available it is cheaper but when it is not available, it becomes too expensive,” he said. “If the subsidies are removed and it is now available, the black market will disappear and people will be getting it there,” he added.
He said removing the fuel subsidies will help reduce the price of the fuel in the country, arguing that the fuel without subsidies is now cheaper than fuel with subsidies.
He said if the subsidies are not removed, there will be fuel but it may not be accessible to everyone.
“The fuel without subsidies now in the market is being sold with one dollar-approximately 180 pound-compared to the fuel sold in the back market of which a litre is being sold at about three hundred pounds,” he said.
“So the business community supports the removal of the fuel subsidies because we are not getting the fuel,” he added.
Akuei further added that it makes no use to leave the subsidies even when some of the government institutions are getting the fuel from the black market.
He said they are pushing with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Petroleum and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to make sure that the fuel subsidies were removed completely.