SouthSudan to join Extractive Industries
By Yiep Joseph
South Sudan will join Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative after proper deliberation on the policies of the initiative and if it suits the interest of the country.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an approach being implemented by 55 countries and supported by 65 companies that focus on promoting open and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources.
Speaking during the first South Sudan EITIconference convened by the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Amb. Beatrice KhamisaWani mentioned that chapter four (4) article four (4) of the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan placed the Extractive Industries Transparency InternationalInitiative as one of the mandates and duties tasked to her Ministry.
“As indicated in the concept note, the main objective of this conference is to create awareness and understanding on what the initiative entails and what is it all about, what are the obligations of the members,”Khamisa said.
“We wanted to know how the initiative will work with the situation in South Sudan. I further needed to understand whether implementing this initiative will ensure transparency of proceeds acquired from the oil and mining sector in the country,” she added.
“South Sudan welcomes this initiative and need technical support from the Norwegian secretariates,”she said.
She mentioned that the government of South Sudan hadworked on several initiatives or reforms on extractive industries for example; last month the National Petroleum and Gas Commission announced a comprehensive Audit for all oil and gas companies operating in the country.
She added that the audit looked into the volume of crude oil produce in the country and the environmental impactsamong others and this similar principles will be applied to other Extractive Industries when South Sudan joins this imitative.
She mentioned that by paying kind attention to the extractive industries and ensuring that natural resources of South Sudan are managed well, the country will stand to derive maximum financial benefits from the available non-renewable resources and use this benefit to fuel development in the other sectors of the country.
“As stakeholders of the peace agreement, this forum ismeant for in-depth explanation from the EITI Secretariates about the Initiative so as we can come up with practical ways based on the following objectives;to increase awareness on what EITI is and how can it be beneficial to the government, civil society and the common man,” she added.
She stated that the conference is the first step towards amove of comprehensive understanding of the initiative.
“Iam optimistic that the discission and dissolution that will come out of the deliberation will be further examined by the R-TGoNU so as to have a clear understanding of the Extractive industries,” she said.
“Deliberations will later be discussed by the governance cluster and will also be tabled by the Council of Ministers,” she added.
However,SivKaspersen, the Ambassador of Norway stated that the main aim of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is to bring transparency in the oil and gas sector in order for the citizens to realize the benefits through development.
“This country has a lot of resources however up to now its potential has not been realized,” Kaspersen said.
Meanwhile Samuel Doe, Resident Representative of UNDP mentioned that UNDP will support the initiative.
“UNDP is ready to stand in support of the R-TGoNU in implementation of this initiative,” Mr. Doe said adding that “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative will promote the idea that the natural resources are a blessing not a curse,” he added.