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Juba could face blackout in days - minister

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March 28, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s minister of electricity and dams, David Deng Athorbei, warned on Wednesday of possible power blackout in the country’s capital Juba due to fuel shortages.

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South Sudan’s minister of finance and economic planning David Deng Athorbei speaks to the press on 23 August 2010 (Photo AFP)

Athorbei accused neighbouring Sudan of cutting fuel supplies immediately after South Sudan became independent in July 2011. The new nation has to import fuel and many other essential goods.

Since the closure of the border between Sudan and South Sudan prices of food and goods have increased dramatically.

Although South Sudan took with it 75% of Sudan’s known oil when it seceded it still had to export its oil through the north’s pipelines and refineries. Having no refineries of its own South Sudan still has to import fuel.

A dispute over transit fees led Juba to stop all production in February, depriving South Sudan of 98% of its income.

The electricity minister said that the was a "possibility of totally blackout of Juba" due to fuel the shortages.

Athorbei said lack of refineries made it difficult for his ministry to buy fuel, prompting him to travel to neigbouring Kenya to negotiate with companies to deliver fuel. However, this has still not been enough to satisfy demand as Kenya has its own fuel shortages.

“They can only sell a limited quantity of fuel because they are also facing fuel shortage. So this resulted to irregular supply of electricity of power in Juba and other town in South Sudan”, he said.

The government had signed a deal with a company called Vitol to supply South Sudan with oil. However, as Vitol were to be paid in South Sudan’s unrefined crude oil the deal has not gone ahead due the halt in production.

The minister also revealed that South Sudan’s finance ministry had not been paying fuel suppliers since December 2011. Athorbei said that for the three months he has been borrowing fuel in order to keep "electricity running for the vital institutions". But this was becoming difficult, he said.

The minister warned the public that their could be a blackout in the coming days. Hospitals and other essential buildings would be prioritised he said.

He said looking to import fuel from Ethiopia in order to supply eastern South Sudan including Malakal, Kapoeta, Torit, Bor .

Ethiopian has agreed to sell South Sudan electricity produced from its dam projects on the condition that the world’s youngest nation builds power lines to connect to Ethiopia’s grid.

Athorbei said he had approached some Chinese companies to build the pipelines. He said he had received assurances that they would provide South Sudan loans for the project.

"If I succeeded that will be the only hope. Maybe in about one and half years we shall have the whole of eastern part of South Sudan electrified”, he said.

(ST)

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  • 29 March 2012 09:00, by wad balad

    First comes the blackout then comes the KNOCKOUT !!

    repondre message

    • 29 March 2012 12:10, by Anti Dinka’s

      Southerners have been living in this condition for many years
      Blackout or lights out will not change Nothing!

      Southerners must focus on one thing that will kill them all

      "Khartoum Khartoum Khartoum!

      there is No way out of this we must fight them to the finish

      repondre message

  • 29 March 2012 09:52, by mohammed ali

    It is really funny! Accusing Khartoum of cutting fuel supply! Isn’t that rediculous! The theifs had to blame the Khartoum, Jalaba, Arabs, Mandicorrow...and you name it!! They simply don’t care, their families are far away, they don’t feel the pain, misery & devastation! Use the looooted money and buy your own oil, it is not your money, instead of crying for Khartoum to give you the feeding bottle.

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    • 29 March 2012 10:02, by mohammed ali

      "The ministry of finance was not paying oil suppliers since December 2011" Is it also because of Khartoum? Where is the money? Untill December Khartoum was allowing you to transport your oil for free.You were making at least $ 35 millions a day , almost ONE BILLION a month, SEVEN BILLIONS since "independence" Where is all that money? Who loooted the money? Did Khartoum do that?!

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      • 29 March 2012 10:18, by mohammed ali

        Look at the bellies of all SPLA thugs & theifs, how fat they are. Check their big bellies & you will find the billions. SEVEN BILLIONS...BILLIONS OF DOLLARS not Sd or SS pound & more than 50% of your pple are starving,you don’t pay to foreign companies & quite easily in your air codition office you are blaming Khartoum.Well Khartoum feeding bottle is no longer there, you have weaned yourself. ...c

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        • 29 March 2012 10:21, by mohammed ali

          SPLA theifs & thugs have to pay the price, not the poor, innocent, needy & vulnerable South Sudanese people. They should & will pay that price very soon!

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      • 29 March 2012 11:12, by mohammed ali

        More than 50% of your pple are starving & look..fat, obese & overweight you are!

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        • 30 March 2012 04:34, by Born-to-Rule

          Mohammed,

          I think you are smarter than that ... however, you sound so stupid in your comments. What are you trying to accomplish, protect the goons in Khartoum. You know Islamic fanatics are screwed up and your so call prophet who you are named after— I am sorry dude but your prophet is a criminal and a fake. You need to stop calling people names if you want people to take you seriously.

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  • 29 March 2012 11:08, by man to man

    Dears Northern,

    it is just a matter of time, be realistic, we are going to have our own refineris . very soon, you northerns will kill yourselves for having our crumb

    repondre message

    • 29 March 2012 12:48, by mohammed ali

      Man, good for you! We will be more than happy for you to have your own refineries not only one!We could even buy from you. Build your refineries and be the most prosporue country on Earth , we will still be happy for you. BUT, don’t do it out of hatred to us, do it because it the right thing for you & good for you. Hatred will lead you to nowhere!

      repondre message

  • 29 March 2012 11:58, by Lokeji

    I don’t know which electricity is this idiot call Athorbei speaking about? the electricity operates only in big fishes residential areas such as hai amarate and other parts of juba town. but the rest of the city is only crowded with generators.this stupid animal have to go to the stable to look after animals than to be a minister. there are many animals in this govt more human beings.

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    • 30 March 2012 07:44, by George Bol

      Hi mr Dor,
      You need to shut up and say thank you to your liberators. Thanks

      repondre message

      • 30 March 2012 17:47, by Son of Upper Nile

        Thank Athorbei for What? a wrong man in wrong place? you made the world love at us with your arroagance how come in the world a country make Ministry of Electricity & Dams where we don’t have a single dam & our power is from thermal stations. It’s will known that majority of engineers are Equatorians & Shilluk so this ministry was supposed to get to those who has capacity to run it.

        repondre message

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