Gov’t tasked to develop national transport master plan

By Taban Henry

South Sudan government has been asked to develop the national transport master plan with clear public investment infrastructure.

This came during the launching of the study by the national corridor on transport needs assessment of South Sudan.

Addressing the media after the launch, the World Bank Senior transport and logistics Specialist, Bernard Aritua said South Sudan needs to develop the national transport master plan.

He said the master plan should be clear that they are hugely investing on public infrastructure that can accelerate economic growth which has to be done in a transparent manner.

Mr. Aritua underscored that the national transport master plan will identify where the critical elements of transport are and in what phase is it to be developed.

“If you think about what will drive south Sudan’s economy, transport is the means to the end manufacturing, mining or agriculture. Manufacturing will take some times to come because the ingredients of manufacturing will take sometimes to come but there is mining which has a lot of potential and then there is agriculture,” he said.

Mr. Aritua added that road is hindering these sectors from taking off, saying in agricultural sector the productivity that needs to be improved.

He stressed that they did an analysis that shows relatively big potential in crop such as sorghum which has the market in the region and internationally, in regions such as Upper Nile region, in Aweil, Renk and Wau.

The WB transport specialist however questioned how they increase the productivity to the international standard.

“Question whether how to get the products from the place they are produced to where it is consumed domestically, this has elements in regulation in productivity but in the transport perspective missing infrastructure and that is local connectivity where they can be packed and made ready for transportation,” he cited.

Mr. Aritua emphasized that connectivity is still a problem currently citing that if you produce large volume of sorghum in Renk region, it’s hard to transfer them to Juba.

“At the moment it is very complicated, the road does not exist, the water ways are not functional and the processes are not yet in place. These are things that South Sudan needs to tackle,” he noted.

He stressed that a lot is required from an institutional regulatory perspective but also from financing perspectives.

“To address the financing gap is to have a harmonized line investment that means investment in roads that leads to where the markets are but also international and that is why Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan corridor becomes important,” he added.

South Sudan is a young country, coming from a very difficult path and a troublesome history. The World Bank was financing Nadapal, Kapoeta, Torit- Juba highway and that project got suspended because of the conflict.

The World Bank Senior transport and logistics Specialist stated that the government needs to focus on building capacity as the first intervention to make sure that the people that represent the government at all levels have the competency.

He reiterated that the first critical thing is the human resources, secondly the institution that supports the delivery of infrastructure needs to have clear mandates and bylaws should be clear who is doing what whether it is policy, strategy, planning, implementation or monitoring saying all these are still missing.

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