Gov’t calls for empowerment of private sector.

By Chany Ninrew

The Minister of Investment has urged the local business community and foreign investors to join hands in developing private sector.

Minister Dhieu Mathok made the remarks in an open conversation that was organized by the sub-committee of the economic cluster in conjunction with the Hotels and Catering Association of South Sudan at a local hotel in Juba.

The meeting which was attended by four other ministers and prominent businessmen discussed investment laws, existing opportunities in hotels and tourism industry, investors’ benefits and the impact of COVID-19 on investment activities in South Sudan.

Addressing hundreds of local and foreign investors and hotel managers on Friday, Dhieu recognized the critical role that the business sector plays in the economic growth and creation of jobs opportunities in South Sudan.

”South Sudan is a land of huge investment opportunity. We are blessed with vast natural resources and fertile land, but we lack the capacity of transforming the natural resources into finished goods,” Dhieu said.

He encouraged investors to work collectively with the government to positively exploit the natural resources for the benefit of the South Sudanese as well as regional and international investors.

“The private sector is an engine to any economy and we have to boost our economy, increase production and substitute our imports with exports,” Mathok said.

The minister of Wildlife and Tourism which is the umbrella of hotels and tourism association acknowledges what he calls institutional defects in his ministry. He cited these gaps as failure to adapt laws for industry and hotels regulation immediately after independence.

“In 2011, when we gained our independent, we should have adapted from Sudan laws and regulations for hotels and tourism industry but unfortunately our ministry never took care of that,” Zechariah said.

He said the areas of concern are that most of the hotels are not respecting the required standard.

Most of the hotels are not perfect to the maximum and they are not perfect to the laws and regulations, and that’s why we are so keen, we are not blaming them because they were not given the standard which they should adapt, but now we are trying to regulate them,” Rizik Zechariah said.

He added they have obtained and drafted Sudan Laws on Tourism and Hotels Industry which should be presented before the legal desk and the assembly before use.

However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Beatrice Khamis encourages hotel managers to make sure they deliver cooperate social responsibilities like responsible garbage disposal and drainage.

“In front of some hotels, there is rubbish or no roads. At least try to patch up the roads in front of you. Make sure there are not potholes because that downgrade your hotel by the way,

“Sometimes they say the hotel is beautiful, but in front of it you find a pool of stagnant water. Those challenges are very critical, please we want you to work with us to make South Sudan the next investment destination,” Beatrice concluded.

 The legal advisor of Hotels and Catering Association Deng Abraham, revealed that South Sudan has around 250 hotels and 150 restaurants most of which are foreign owned.

The Hotel industry employs more than 10,000 South Sudanese and an unknown number of foreigners.

He also said the industry reportedly faces a number of challenges like uncertainty of investment laws overlapping powers of public agencies like revenue authority and various levels of the government.

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