By Gladys Fred Kole
National minister of roads and bridges has decried difficulty in following up on the cross-border highway construction project between South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Simon Mijok Mijak now seeks the help of the council of ministers to urge collaborative efforts of the concerned institutions to follow up on the implementation of the Ethiopia-South Sudan road deal.
The minister yesterday tabled a report to the council of ministers, chaired by President Salva Kiir Mayardit, on the implementation of the Paloch-Mathiang-Maiwut – Pagak Road, which connects the two countries.
Last year, the governments of Ethiopia and South Sudan signed an agreement to build a highway linking the two countries.
National Minister of information, Michael Makuei told the press that the minister of roads clarified to the cabinet that they are meeting some difficulties, especially from the Ethiopian side.
“This is a contract based on an agreement between us and the Ethiopian government, and as such, up to now, our partner has not done anything.” Makuei told reporters on Friday
He stated that the minister of roads and bridges, Simon Mijok Mijak, urged that a follow-up with the Ethiopian counterpart be done so that the construction of this highway can commence.
“It is important that this road starts because it will resolve so many problems, including the transportation of the crude oil and the importation of the finished goods from Djibouti.” Makuei noted.
If this highway is constructed, it will be the nearest route, especially for the country’s export of part of its oil resources, other than from Mombasa, according to Makuei.
“The report was appreciated and passed, and the concerned institutions were requested or directed to follow up with the implementation of this agreement so that these roads come into being.” Makuei added.
The Ethiopia-South Sudan road construction agreement was signed by the former finance minister, Dr. Dier Tong Ngor, and Ethiopia’s Deputy Finance Minister, Eyop Tekalign, as witnessed by President Salva Kiir.
The cross-border highway project would strengthen economic ties as well as enhance the free movement of people and goods in the Horn of Africa.
The completion of this road will also contribute to reducing the cost of doing business in the region.
South Sudan is looking for new roads to export part of its oil resources, which it hopes to refine in the country after conflict in Sudan caused its oil prices to crash.