Redline over oil revenue data collection
By Gilo Jr. Okwata
A Custom Service official yesterday gave a damning assessment on the challenges facing Custom Service as one of the revenue collection departments by revealing that redline had been drawn which prevents the collection of oil data and transactions.
Speaking during the celebration to mark the African Statistics Day, the head of Statistics at the Custom Service, Lieutenant Colonel Jokondo Anthony Jokondo said that Custom was not allowed to collect data on oil transaction and that the staff of Custom in the Ministry of Petroleum were just there to facilitate exemption but not to ask how many barrels were being imported.
“Concerning oil data, I am sorry to say this, there is a lot of secrets around it, and therefore, custom is not allowed to collect. If we collect the data, I think all South Sudanese would know the real amount but this is redline, so we are not allowed. Even in my office I don’t have any single data about the oil. I tried but they said no, you stop it,” Anthony said.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of National Bureau of Statistics lamented lack of political will from the stakeholders especially the government to allow access to data or give data to National Bureau of Statistics whether economic data, health data, or even livestock data.
“When we invited some of the political leadership like in this case, actually we had wanted some Ministers to be here who are concerned and not the technical people so that they are able to answer why things are moving the way they are but they will avoid such forum, they will not come, the question is what do you do when you talk about political will. These are people you can never force to come, so that is the dilemma where we have Ministers invited to give us more information but they will never come,” Aruai lamented.
In addition, the Deputy Chairperson for National Bureau of Statistics, John Maciek said the absence of political will to support implementers of laws and regulations regarding data harmonization pose serious challenges to the operations of National Bureau of Statistics.
“The public in general follow up things, I have been following up what has been happening in South Sudan Custom Service in terms of people employed to lead it, it is a serious challenge let us be honest. There is no accountability in this country to be frank, I am put there and told to do this but I am not asked what is it I have done from what I am delegated to or assigned to do,” Maciek said.