By Sirir Gabriel Yiei Ruot
OPINION – Since the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in March 2020, Hon. Puot Kang Chol has been so instrumental in rendering services, Reforms and Changes in the Ministry of Petroleum. The scale of the task was enormous, however, through steadfastness and determination, the minister’s primary focus is on transforming and elevating the Ministry of Petroleum through a clear and Infallible concept in which he promised himself to make a difference.
Hon. Puot Kang has proudly and continually committed time and resources to empower and inspire a new class of South Sudanese youths and intellectuals alike, mentoring young talents in our society with essential skills and tools for self-development.
In the shortest period that he has been the Minister of Petroleum in the Republic of South Sudan, Hon. Puot introduced, commenced, completed/achieved and continues to oversee the implementation of various projects and reform policies. Some of these few reform policies include but not limited to:
ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT (APPROACHING FINAL STAGE)
Section 32 of the Draft Environment Protection Bill, 2010 Cap 7 intends to introduce the requirement for Environmental Audits. An Environmental Audit, according to this Bill, is defined as the systematic, documented, periodic and objective evaluation of how well the environmental organization, management and equipment are performing in conserving the Environment and its resources. In compliance with the above bill and the South Sudan Petroleum Act 2021 chapter XIV which allows the ministry to make regulations to achieve a high level of health and safety and environmental protection, on 14th January 2021, the Ministry of Petroleum under the auspice of Hon. Puot Kang Chol launched the opening bid round for its environmental audit tender.
The environmental audits will commence the conversation by bringing to light what has been transpiring, where the pollution has happened, and to what extent. This shall be followed by recommendations on what should be done, which includes ways of guaranteeing that the people whose health has been affected must get medical assistance and necessary treatments, and thus the environment is also cleaned up where possible. The other thing is to see into it that health and environmental safeguards are put in place for all oil operations in the country.
Secondly, Unified Human Resources Policy(ies) Manual (UHRPM) 2020 is another example of how a leader can work in the interest of his people. To me, the UHRPM is one of the highest achievements that has earned Hon. Puot Kang Chol was praised and labelled as the “most patriotic citizen” among his peers and the South Sudanese.
The Unified Human Resources Policy(ies) Manual is a document that was launched on the 21st of December 2020 it will be the basis of employment and payment in the oil sections. The document requires that nationals and foreign experts in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. After a lengthy back and forth discussions with the partners, the document was finally signed on the 22nd of February 2022 by the ministry and the partners with the sole agreement that it will be implemented without any changes to the contents which were initially rejected by the partners. This indicates clearly that the minister is a true servant of the people of South Sudan. If this is not an act of selflessness, then I don’t know what selflessness is.
Ministry of Petroleum for the first time acquired two geophysical planes to generate geophysical aerial data collection and conduct surveys of oil and other mineral deposits in the country. The geological and seismic investigation aircraft will acquire new data over large areas without harming the environment through aerial surveys and mapping thus, advancing South Sudan’s exploration quest.
Hon. Puot Kang as a Minister also introduced the Local Content Regulation. South Sudan’s Petroleum Act, 2012 and Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2013 provide for some of these mechanisms, significant shortfalls in enforcement notwithstanding. The Petroleum Act, 2012 provides local content clauses that require:
- procurement of goods and services produced in South Sudan
- prioritization of employment and training of South Sudanese, and;
- transfer of skills, knowledge, competence, and know-how to South Sudanese.
To meet these requirements, the Act requires the oil companies to prepare and implement plans and programs that prioritize the procurement of South Sudanese goods, services, materials, personnel and training and transfer of know-how to South Sudanese.
Under the witty leadership of Puot Kang Chol, the Ministry of Petroleum has commenced the formulation of measures and framework to enable South Sudanese participation in the oil and gas Industry. These frameworks require the companies to prepare and implement plans and programs for procuring national goods and services, employment and training of South Sudanese including post-graduate training and scholarships and transfer of skills, knowledge, competence, and technical know-how. The policy also requires that unskilled labour must be given to South Sudanese.
The petroleum companies are also required to prepare and implement local content plans and submit annual reports to the Ministry of Petroleum.
Then, the completion of the Data Center for the Petroleum and Geophysical Data storage. As a part of the transformation process in the South Sudan oil and gas industry, the National Ministry of Petroleum under the stewardship of Hon. Puot Kang Chol has opened the first Geological Data Center in Juba. The $3.7 million facility which was implemented in less than one year will be used for keeping important data, especially on hydrocarbons, minerals and other Geo-scientific information. In addition, the Center will also help university students and companies to carry out their scientific research on the country’s geophysical data.
Hon. Kang Chol also directed the DG of Administration and Finance to establish a fully integrated ERP system which will allow the seamless flow of information across different departments and functions. It will also help in simplification and creation of safe domain for the valuable documents. It will eradicate the traditional way of handling paperwork among the staff in the Ministry of Petroleum.
Finally, the Ministry of Petroleum acquired two crop dusting Planes for mapping and collecting data on hydrocarbons and minerals. These air-crafts shall be put to proper use by the ministry of Agriculture. These models show a collaborative environment where South Sudan institutions work hand in hand progressively.
Hence, the progress made by Hon. Puot Kang Chol has cemented his legacy amongst the South Sudanese in and outside the country. We must support him in his quest for a lucrative institution (MoP). He has proven his ability beyond a reasonable doubt to be the man for the job. May he never cease to work for the people and the country.
The author, Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut, is the Secretary for Press & Public Relations in the Office of the Minister of Petroleum of the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached via: email@example.com.
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