Central Bank’s decision to allocate $3m monthly to Ezra raises concerns

USD Banknotes | Photo : File
USD Banknotes | Photo : File

The Central Bank’s decision to allocate a whopping $3 million per month to the private electricity company, Ezra, to run its daily operations, worries economists and experts.

Speaking in an interview with a Juba-based radio station last week, the Central Bank Governor, Hon. Dier Tong defended his decision, saying the money is being used to purchase and import heavy fuel from foreign countries.

“For us, there is the issue of heavy fuel that is needed for electricity to be available. There are companies that have been sub-contracted,” Governor Dier Tong explained.

In the past few months, the electricity company, Ezra Group, reached an agreement with the relevant authorities after they had threatened to cut off electricity supplies across the city due to the government’s failure to provide hard currency.

Dier emphasized that the important thing is not the money that the government allocates, but the electricity that supplies the entire city.

“We see the bigger picture is not Ezra, we are not just giving this money to Ezra Company, and we think that there is a service that is benefiting our people and it is good that the Central Bank has the capacity to support that.”

The Juba City Power Distribution System was constructed with the support of the African Development Bank, which provided 38 million US dollars.

CES Governor slaps ban on illegal FX trading in Juba

Unidentified Forex Exchange dealer counts his MONEY (SSP) in Juba |Photo:File

October 18, 2020 (Thessherald)–In the face of the current economic crisis, the Governor of Central Equatoria State, Emmanuel Adil Anthony, has imposed a strict ban on all forms of illegal forex exchange trading (FX) in Juba, with immediate effect.

In a Gubernatorial Order dated October 16, 2020 AD, the Governor had instructed law enforcement agencies to enforce the order accordingly.

“Govermment of Central Equatoria State Gubernatorial Order No.14/2020 to Ban Operation of illegal Dealers in Foreign Currency in Central Equatoria State, 2020 AD Title and Commencement This Order shall be cited as Gubernatorial Order No.14/2020 for banning operation of illegal dealers in foreign currency in Central Equatoria State and shall come into force on the date of its signature by the Governor.”

“The Order In exercise of powers conferred upon me by the Republican Decree No. 51/2020, read together with Article 99(2)(L) of Transitional Constitution of Central Equatoria State, 2012 (as amended). 1, Emmanuel Adil Anthony Wani, Governor of Central Equatoria State do hereby issue this Gubernatorial Order for banning operation of illegal dealers in foreign currency in Central Equatoria State with effect from the day of issuing this order as hereunder.”

The state government issued the following orders which must be strictly adhered to.

1. Banning operation of all illegal dealers in foreign currency who are operating without authorization from concerned authorities.

2. These illegal dealers comprise those operating alongside roads, or inside shops with no license of operation.

3. Anybody who violates this Order shall be punished according to Councils by-Laws.

4. All Law Enforcement Agencies concerned are directed to implement this order with immediate effect.

South Sudan continues to face a dire humanitarian crisis and economic collapse as a direct result of the conflict that has driven millions of people from their homes.

Regional experts and economists believe that if the parties make significant progress in implementing the peace deal in good faith, it could certainly lead to a positive economic outlook.

S. Sudan depletes its hard currencies, calling for bailout

August 19, 2020 (Thessherald)–Due to years of political instability, corruption, and COVID-19, South Sudan has been plunged into an economic crisis, leading to a widespread depreciation of the South Sudanese pound against the US dollar.

Although South Sudan is among the most oil-rich countries in the world, the nation has suffered numerous setbacks and an economic downturn as a result of corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector.

South Sudan’s government and the opposition signed a peace agreement in 2018 that led to the formation of a coalition government, however despite the end of the violence, the state has yet to make efforts to generate finances through its natural resources.

Lack of transparency, compounded with mistrust between the parties, has made it nearly impossible for the international community and the region to allocate financial resources for the implementation of the peace agreement.

Earlier this week, an official at the Central Bank of South Sudan, Daniel Kech Pouch, admitted that the country had run short of foreign currency, which is critical to maintaining a reliable and stable store of value.

“It is difficult for us at the moment to stop this rapidly increasing exchange rate, because we do not have resources, we do not have reserves,” Pouch was quoted as saying.