OpEd, Politics

Having oil is one thing, but using it well is another

Among the very few countries blessed with oil, South Sudan is one. There is a plethora of oil in South Sudan that despite its constant refinery, it explodes in certain areas just to alert people that I’m also here! There is oil almost everywhere!

Oil has no nickname, meaning oil in South Sudan is just like oil in Uganda, DRC, Dubai, or any other oil-producing country. The same way oil is utilized in those countries should be the same way it’s utilized in South Sudan. The only difference is that oil in those countries is utilized for the benefit of the citizens while oil in South Sudan is utilized for the benefit of individuals among which the president is one.

God was not stupid at all to create oil in abundance because He knew South Sudan would fight the longest war for liberation in Africa, and when liberated, would use oil to catch up with developing countries. God was right, but the leaders of South Sudan were wrong in utilizing oil for the benefit of God’s people! If oil were used for development, South Sudan would be between developing countries and underdeveloped countries, but because oil finds its way into the pockets of leaders, South Sudan is still an underdeveloped country with little or no possibilities of breaking the ceiling to join developing countries.

How can oil be utilized well? Good utilization of oil begins with adequate compensation for the communities around the territory of oil to cope with oil hazards! Another wise utilization of oil is the adequate payment of the staff of oil companies! The third well utilization is the usage of oil for the payment of the civil servants!

And the fourth wise utilization is the usage of oil for infrastructure and improvement of the oil sector itself to sophisticate it to have lesser effects on the host communities and staff. Oil usage fits everywhere except personal usage! Because of poor utilization of oil, Bahr El Ghazal Road, which is exchanged for 30,000 barrels of crude oil per day, has not yet exited the state from which it was started for four years now.

Because of the poor utilization of oil, the civil servants, who should be paid with oil money, spend as many months unpaid as five or so. Imagine! Because of poor utilization of oil, so many people in oil-producing areas succumb to the hazardous effects of oil as 2% allocated for them finds its way into the mouths of insatiable area leaders. Because of poor utilization of oil, natives working in oil fields are underpaid while their equivalent foreigners are overpaid.

Because of poor utilization of oil, roads within residential areas in Juba City have become breeding places for mosquitos! And many other burning issues that can be addressed by oil money. In countries where oil is utilized with dignity, unborn generations are budgeted for by allocating them to oil reserves. But in South Sudan, oil is utilized mercilessly as if leaders communicated with God yesterday that their children are going to die tomorrow.

Leaders are devoid of the truth that the candle which will always light their legacies is the future, and so, little resources must always be saved for future use. Dubai was a slum area, but because of the high usage of oil, it has now become the world’s best market!   Why can’t South Sudan imitate that bizarre history? Believe me 5-10 leaders of South Sudan would be observed setting up oil markets somewhere in the world. I sound funny here, but I’m right! Cemetery becomes a preferred home when an introverted generation is in leadership! Having oil is one thing, but using it wisely is another.

The author is a medical student, University of Juba.

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