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Lawmakers fume over 2% community’s oil shares

By Bida Elly David

 

Lawmakers from Unity State in the national parliament are calling for an investigation into the allocation of 2% oil shares to communities in oil-producing areas.

They claim that these communities are being cheated out of their share, which is intended to fund development, education, health, and other services, according to the Petroleum Act.

MP Tut Jok, who represents Akobo County, reiterated during a parliamentary session that the 5% oil shares allocated to the oil-producing states and communities are not reaching their intended beneficiaries.

“We need to defend the rights of our people. In this house, the parliament suspends the allocation of 2% to the communities in Unity State. We need to know whether this money is still going to be suspended by the Ministry of Finance,” Hon. Tut queried

The lawmaker underscored the concerns from communities revealed a non-flow of financial resources to them in either way.

“There is a concern raised by the communities that the money has not been reaching them yet; it is meant to develop the community since they are the key beneficiaries of their place,” he said.

Anna Samuel, a lawmaker representing Mayendit County of Unity State under the SPLM-IO ticket, expressed her sympathy towards the communities of the oil-producing states, especially regarding the harmful effects on their livelihoods caused by the environment.

She mentioned that it is shameful for the authorities to have excluded the community from the benefits of claiming to be their protectors.

Anna highlighted that the Greater Upper Nile region, including Unity State, has been facing several climate change issues without any support from the government.

She noted that despite having the highest number of displaced people, the government did not release any portion of the oil shares to support the local population, which was expected.

“Greater Upper Nile since 2020 has been affected by flooding, but nothing has been done, and as of this year, it will worsen, and soon livestock and people will be affected, particularly in Unity State,” she emphasized.

Anna highlighted the citizens’ battle to produce food for home consumption, which still does not yield due to so much flooding.

“Their production doesn’t yield since they farm in waters; the government is supposed to look at what ways to be applied to rescue citizens in Unity State,” she urged.

She suggested the need for the parliament to summon the minister of petroleum and environment to explain the reason behind the suffering of the people in the oil-producing areas while they have shares in the oil proceeds.

The lawmaker presumed that games are being played by the state government over the 2% oil shares for Unity State Community.

“The specialized committee for finance and economic planning in the assembly last time made their stand that 2% of the shares should go to the community but not to the state government of Unity State, but the stand has been disgraced,” Anna stressed.

In response to these concerns, the second deputy speaker, Parmena Awerial, who presided over the Tuesday sitting, noted the complaints from the honourable members, saying they would be followed up with the Ministry of Finance.

 

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