JUBA - The Government plans to launch the construction of a refinery in Upper Nile shortly after the independence celebrations, finance minister Kosti Manibe has said.
“After the celebration of independence, there will be a ground-breaking ceremony in Upper Nile state,” he told Parliament during the second reading of the budget on Wednesday.
He said South Sudan is an oil-producing country but it imports refined products from outside, which should end.
Earlier this year, oil minister Stephen Dhieu Dau had announced that they were in talks with top oil trader Vitol to build a small refinery which would start producing in 2013.
"We are expecting the first product in 2013," Oil Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau told reporters during a visit to Palouge oil field in Upper Nile in February.
"They will use 10,000 barrels per day and the output will be 35-40 percent of the total so it will be 3,500 barrels per day initially and then we will develop it gradually," he said.
South Sudan planned two more small refineries, he said without giving details.
The Leader of Minority in Parliament criticised the Government for overshooting the budget in the first nine months of last financial year, yet Parliament never approved a supplementary budget.
“A total amount of SSP2.5 billion SSP was spent by the executive without the knowledge of this House,” said Onyoti Nyikwec.
“Can the minister explain to this House how they spent this huge amount of money without our knowledge?”
The institutions which exceeded their budgets were Defence, which overshot the budget by SSP1.2 billion, followed by Roads and Bridges (SSP410 million), the Office of the President (SSP344 million) and Finance (SSP214 million).
Responding to the criticism, Manibe noted that in the last three months expenditure had remained within the budget, which he called an achievement.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Elias Nyamlel pleaded that the SSP200 million asked for by the ministry should be granted, saying that SP86 million was too little.
“External defence relies on foreign affairs. Foreign Affairs is the only ministry with functions stipulated in the Constitution,” she argued.
As part of the austerity measures the Government reduced the number of South Sudanese embassies to be established.
Last week Kiir bid farewell to seven ambassadors who were assigned and travelled for their diplomatic missions.
The seven ambassadors left for Uganda, China, South Africa, Belgium, Eritrea, Germany, and Kenya.
MPs earlier this year criticised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for delaying to send ambassadors abroad to explain South Sudan’s position in the north-south conflict, especially at the time the SPLA took Heglig.
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Friday, 7 September 2012