By Bida Elly David
The First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan has said shortage of electric power discourages the flow of investors into the country and called on the Ministry of Energy and Dams in collaboration with the Petroleum Ministry to prioritize electricity production.
He made the remarks yesterday during the Oil and Power conference in Juba which is aimed at improving the Country’s power energy to attract foreign investors and improve the Country.
South Sudan among many countries in Africa and the world at large has been battling and passively impacted by power shortage as many citizens use charcoal fuel for cooking and generators, private solar as sources of energy.
The country’s power shortage has contributed to serious economic recession as investors become discouraged towards creating enterprises and domestic traders embark on private sources of power which is also reciprocated with heavy tariffs on businesses.
Speaking during the event yesterday, F.V.P Dr. Riek Machar Teny, said South Sudan is undergoing serious power shortage and reiterated the need for the government to engage others to invest in power to attract external investors to boost developmental projects.
“As for power, actually we have three Ministries that contribute or collaborate with each other. It is the petroleum, mining, energy and dams. We want power and it is one of the priorities whether it is from thermal, geo thermal, fossil fuel and hydro, solar or biomass. We would like to enhance that because it is apparent. If you don’t have power, no investors will come,” he said.
Dr. Riek hinted the government’s plan to build a hydroelectric power between Juba and Nimule border at the Fulla dams after tracing out five cataracts with the potential sites for the installation of the power.
At the same note, he said no regional or political difficulties would hinder the installation of the hydroelectric power in the aforementioned areas as planned by the government.
“Between Juba and our border Nimule, there are five cataracts which are potential sites for hydro power and we have no regional, political difficulties over it because they will serve as reservoirs for water and at the same time generate power. That time we lack power, today even we lack power. Two days I was talking to somebody who wanted to invest in power. When we started with our estimate, we said, thirty mega wards would be enough with Juba. Today I am told we need 300 mega wards. How do we get these, we have to get others to come and invest in power,” he noted.
Dr. Riek stated that the five sites would help the three ministries in case of any need to invest in any type of power necessary for the country.
“If you are interested in investing in power, hydro or in solar, this is the place. They said we have the highest intensity of heat in South Sudan that is why we are darker than anybody else. So the solar is a good investment,” he said.
The First Vice President further pointed out that South Sudan is a Country having the second largest forest and swamps in Africa where fuel ceiled is used as major sources of energy.
However, Dr. Riek underscored that South Sudan has been helping the world on free carbon observation and stressed need to join the carbon credit market for global marketing.
“We are also thinking when people say move from fossil fuel because carbon emissions will be increased but we also said we are a carbon sink Country and we want others to come and invest in it. If the carbon sink is by the tree, we are the second largest forest in Africa. Also, we have the largest swamp which is also a carbon sink,” he said.
He finally called on the three Ministries to start prioritizing the installation of the solar energy to rescue South Sudan from the alarming power shortage that resulted into passive turn-up of investors.