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South Sudan strapped for oil cash

About 98% of South Sudan’s income is derived from its oilfields, but the country has not received any oil money since May

SOUTH SUDAN has received no oil money since 30 May, the country’s interim central bank governor, Kornelio Koryom Mayiik, has confirmed, claiming the fledgling nation has hard-currency reserves to last “several more months”. 

Central bank officials said that since it received the May payment, the country, which formally seceded from Sudan on 9 July this year, has been using hard-currency reserves to pay salaries and to meet other government expenses.

The last disbursement was made under the now-defunct 50:50 revenue-sharing deal with the Sudanese government in Khartoum, agreed under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Sources said the May tranche, which covered revenues for April and May, amounted to a little over $396 million.

Koryom took over as interim governor of the central bank last week, after president Salva Kiir Mayardit sacked Elijah Malok over his handling of the country’s switch from the Sudanese pound to the South Sudanese pound.

“We have put in place contingency measures to ensure the smooth running of government so the country’s economy does not grind to a halt”

Before his ousting, Malok stressed that the South Sudanese economy was not in any danger. “The bank exercises caution,” he said in a statement. “We have put in place contingency measures to ensure the smooth running of government so the country’s economy does not grind to a halt.” Malok added that the bank had contingency funds, saying: “If we [hadn’t], we would have collapsed before independence.”

The bank’s admission comes as talks on oil revenues and infrastructure access between Sudan and South Sudan are set to resume next week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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