The Deputy Minister of Finance has appealed to the Juba Electricity Distribution Company not to cut off the power supply in Juba.
This comes after the company also known as JEDCO, announced that it will be forced to halt electricity supplies beginning tomorrow, until further notice.
It said the government of South Sudan has not provided the foreign currency required to make long-overdue payments for the bulk energy Ezra Construction and Development Group supplies to JEDCO.
Later, Ezra Construction and Development Group that runs the power plant in Juba also said it will shut down the electricity source on Tuesday.
The deputy minister of finance said it is ill-advised for JEDCO to halt electricity supply especially after collecting money from clients.
The electricity company must sit with the concerned authorities on how to reach a solution on this important issue for the citizens because they [residents] are the ones who pay in advance to buy electricity,” Agok Makue told Eye Radio.
He warned the company against taking the drastic move, urging it to “go back and sit with the concerned authorities [to solve] this issue and not threatening to cut off electricity from tomorrow.”
The electricity distributor said it has so far connected 9,990 households, 3,550 businesses, and 200 governmental institutions to the grid.
Some business owners say they will sue the company if it cut power supply that they have already paid for.
Mr. Makur stressed that JEDCO must consider the households and businesses who already paid in advance.
“Citizens pay a very large amount of money to buy electricity, and therefore it is not supposed to behave like this by stopping electricity due to the absence of the sums,” he stated.
Mr. Makur disclosed that although the country has stopped dealing with foreign currencies based on the decision of the Council of Ministers, it can still persuade the central bank so that the public and the economy is not inconvenienced by the shutdown.
He encouraged JEDCO to submit to the central bank the South Sudanese pounds it collected from clients to be exchanged into hard currency.
“This is a normal thing…the Ministry of Finance also has a role to intervene and talk with the central bank on how to find a solution to the crisis.”
Ezra Group of companies built and is operating the 100 Megawatts Power Plant in Juba.
The government of South Sudan is expected to take over the power plant in the future according to the agreement.
The power grid in Juba was constructed with the support of the African Development Bank which provided $38 million.
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