South Sudan’s Finance minister, Agak Achuil Lual has clarified on a statement in which he was quoted to have disclosed that the country’s oil proceeds had been sold off until 2027 to clear accrued loans.
The minister’s statement attracted a lot of public uproar as well as concerns.
But speaking to the state-owned television (SSBC) after being summoned by President Salva Kiir on Wednesday, Lual claimed he was quoted “out of context”.
“The statement about the proceeds of oil was taken out of the context. What I meant was not reported as I said. I said oil advances or commitments were spread up to 2027, but it does not mean the oil of South Sudan was sold out all,” said the minister.
He further added, “We still have our oil in the ground”.
According to the minister, the government was now looking for ways to increase the production of oil up to more than 300,000 barrels per day to address the economic crisis as well as raise revenues to pay the country’s civil servants.
“We still have all our resources in the ground and the government is embarking on an initiative of oil enhancement to increase the production of the oil,” stressed Lual.
He added, “We are working with Petroleum minister to increase oil production whereby if we reach 300,000-350,000 barrels per day, then it means talks on loans, debts and arrears will be eliminated as soon as our production increases.”
Revenue from oil account for more than 90% of South Sudan’s annual budget.