JUBA – South Sudan’s minister of roads and bridges Simon Mijok Mijak has blamed lack of funds for the slow construction of the Juba Bahr el Ghazal Highway, but said an arrangement to allocate funds to the construction of the road has been made by the government under directives of the president.
Mijak who was speaking during a function in Juba to honor Lakes State Governor Rin Tueny Mabor said the construction of the major road linking Juba to the four Bahr el Ghazal region states and eventually Unity States and Abyei was delayed due to financial constraints.
“When the launching of Juba-Rumbek highway was done in December 2014, there was no money and we were hoping for a loan from China but we didn’t receive the loan,” Mijak said during thanksgiving ceremony to honor Lakes State Governor Rin Tueny Mabor in Juba on Saturday.
Mijak said the Ministry of Finance has not disbursed any money since his appointment in August 2019.
“In 2019, the government decided to allocate 10,000 barrel of crude oil per day for construction of Juba-Rumbek Road and since I was appointed, I have never seen any money from the cargo,” the minister said.
“Don’t ask me where the money went because I won’t be able to answer that question. Two cargo of oil money came during the tender of former Minister Rebecca Joshua Okwaci in May and July 2019,” he added.
In March 2019, the Chinese firm, Shandong Hi-Speed Group Co. Ltd was granted a contract by the government to start construction of major roads with deal of more than 30,000 barrel of crude oil per day.
In May, the government halted work on the Juba-Terekeka-Yirol-Rumbek highway after heavy rain washed away some part of the asphalt.
On 7 September this year, the government approved more than 25 million US dollars in additional funding for ongoing construction of Juba-Rumbek highway.
The amount will supplement the initial budget of more than 711 million US dollar.
He said the office of President earmarked 700 US dollar for Bahr el Ghazal Road.
“It was the President who bailed us out with 700 million U.S dollar and I was told every two months, one cargo of crude oil will be allocated for road construction; six cargos in a year will sell and the money would be used for road constructions,” he added.
What is the minister of roads and bridges talking about when he says lack of funds is hindering the completion of Juba-Aweil Road? is he unaware of the 30, 000 barrels of oil a day that were dedicated for the constructions of roads and bridges? Or who is receiving the money from the oil that were meant for the construction of roads and bridges across the country? Was this part of the looting scheme that has drained the country of the much needed money for the delivery of services to the people?