Big relief to Juba residents! Government directs Central Bank to pay JEDCO $3 million
The Ministry of Finance has directed the Central Bank to immediately pay 3 million US dollars to Juba Electricity Distribution Company to resume power supply in the capital Juba.
“Putting pressure is not a solution, the ministry of finance has directed the central bank to immediately give them the 3 million, and there is no problem with that. But they are demanding for more than that, they say their arrears should also be paid,” deputy finance minister, Agok Makur revealed to Eye Radio on Friday.
This is after residents of Juba city yesterday reported a total power blackout.
The sudden move to cut electricity supply comes less than 72 hours after JEDCO announced load-shedding in Juba.
The generator power plant that supplies Juba with electricity is partially owned by Ezra Construction and Development Group, with shares of the government.
Ezra company had stated that it was moving ahead with the shutdown because of failure to obtain foreign currency from the government.
It claimed it ran out of dollars to import heavy fuel used for running the power generators.
But in January, the Central Bank said it would provide 3 million US dollars per month to enable the company to run its operations smoothly.
The bank’s Governor Dier Tong disclosed that the money will be acquired at the official bank exchange rate of about 180 South Sudanese Pounds per 1 US dollar.
However, JEDCO and Ezra said there was a lack of commitment from stakeholders leaving the power plant in a critical state.
Last night, it switched off power across Juba, affecting hospitals, businesses and other sectors.
“I want to assure the people of South Sudan that the government is working on this matter. The ministry of finance and the central bank have already agreed to pay the 3 million US dollars to the electricity company, but Ezra decided to cut off the power yesterday without explaining to us whether they have received the money or not,” Makur, the deputy minister, added.
“Our concern is that the power should not stop because it is very important for us to have this electricity for the citizens and the government as well.”
Makur added: “I demand this electricity company to consider the needs of our citizens, they should resolve this matter with us amicably, what happened yesterday was not appropriate.”
Ezra Construction and Development Group built and is operating the 100 Megawatts Power Plant in Juba.
The Juba City Power Distribution System was constructed with the support of the African Development Bank which provided 38 million US dollars.
At the end of last year, JEDCO said it had connected 10,000 households, over 3,500 businesses, and over 200 governmental institutions to the grid.
Story by Eye Radio