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Kenya Summoned GOSS Liaison Officer to Nairobi Over Fuel Station Demolitions

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GOSS Head of Mission to Kenya summoned over threat of demolition of
business premises

By Jervasio O.Okot
Nairobi, Friday, February 27th 2009

On Friday, February 27th 2009, at 5.15pm the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign
Affairs  requested  the  Head  of Mission of the Government of Southern
Sudan  (GOSS) Liaison office to Kenya to appear in an emergency meeting
to  explain  the  reason for which some of the petrol stations owned by
Kenyan traders in Juba have been threatened for demolition.

The  meeting  which  was  convened  by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon
Moses Wetangula in his office was attended by some of the Petrol owners
which  comprised  of  Chairman  of  Arid Regions Integrated Development
Agency  Mr.  Issak  Sheikh Gabow, Ibrahim IK Mohammed and Bashir Malaw.
The  businesses  whose documents were the subjects of discussion before
the  minister  for  foreign affairs were: Bross Petrol, City Gas Petrol
Ltd,  T.  T Petrol Station Juba and Tiba Oil Co Ltd.  Ibrahim and Malaw
are from Bross Petrol.

These traders launched complain through the ministry of Foreign Affairs
for  intervention  and urged Kenyan government to discuss this with the
Government  of  Southern  Sudan  (GOSS)  in  order  to  arrest possible
demolition of their business premises in Juba.

The issues of concern which were brought during this meeting were:

·         Request  for ample time from the Government of Southern
Sudan (GOSS) for relocation of these petrol stations
·         Allocation  of new sites to these petrol dealers by the
GOSS
·        Compensation of loses incurred to petrol owners

Minister for Foreign Affairs explained that Kenya and South Sudan enjoy
cooperation  agreement  in  many  areas  of  mutual  interests  and are
sisterly  countries.  He  said  one of which is where Southern Sudanese
students pay local fees in all Kenyan institutions of higher learning.

He told Ambassador John that his office was flooded with complains from
various  business paternities of Kenyan nationals conducting businesses
in  Southern  Sudan  on  issues  of  harassments and intimidations. The
minister  acknowledged  the fruitful meeting held with the Minister for
Regional Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin who, he said was
equally  concern  on  the  fate  of Kenyan traders in Juba. He said the
meeting  addressed  issues  of concern and will continue interacting on
this matter.

He  said  a  country  which  has  just  emerged  from a long war has an
obligation  to plan its towns and cities as such avoid any danger posed
to  its  inhabitants. The mistier said that the GOSS was concern on the
security  of its citizens and would like to ensure that Petrol Stations
built  in  the residential areas must be relocated to certain locations
where civil populations are not vulnerable to dangers.

The minister said that GOSS should,

·        Identify alternative sites to these Kenyan oil dealers,
·        Give them ample time for relocation,
·        Compensate loses and damages to these petrol dealers,
·         Kenyan  consulate  in  Juba  to  follow  the  issues of
compensation

He  said  his  office  will  dispatch  a letter to the GOSS through the
Ministry  for  Regional Cooperation to ensure that the matter is put to
rest.  Hon Minister Moses Watengula also said he would like to directly
raise  this to the President of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS)
H.E. 1st Lt General Salva Kiir Mayardit for his highest intervention.

The  Head  of Mission of GOSS Liaison office to Kenya John Andruga Duku
who  had  just  arrived  from  Juba  came  straight to this meeting. He
explained  that while in Juba, he was able to enquire the rationale for
the  allocation of Petrol facilities which were adjacent to residential
areas.  He  said  most  of  them were privately owned during which land
owners  leased  their  lands  to traders. This enabled them register as
local  companies  with  an  approval  from  the ministry of commerce to
import.  Ambassador  Duku  reminded  that  county commissioners have no
jurisdiction to issue licences to business people.

He  said  the  issue  of  these  petrol stations had brought concern to
parliament  who  wanted  to  impeach  the  ministers  in the ministries
concern  for  negligent in allocations of business land. The parliament
decided  that the petrol stations be relocated to the new sites because
of  posing  danger to the inhabitants of the area. Ambassador Duku told
the minister that marks were put on the petrol stations in October 2008
as  a  signal  for  relocation but the oil traders did not heed to this
warning.  He  said  despite of this warning, one petrol station in Juba
was  still filling fuel which was due to be demolished on January 2009.
The  demolition was extended to February 26th 2009 and another fuel was
filled.

He  said  the demolition exercise was not only targeting Kenyans. There
were  some  demolitions  carried  out previously in Juba but the people
affected   were   all  business  people  from  different  nationalities
including Sudanese. He said the concern from the Kenyan government will
be communicated back to Juba.

One of the traders said he invested Fifteen Million shillings (Shs 15M)
in  four  petrol  stations.  He  said it will be a disaster because the
money was a loan from a Kenyan bank which he is paying.

Mr.  Issak  Sheikh  Gabow  was impressed on the briefing by his foreign
minister.  He  said  it  was  a sign of concern from Hon Minister Moses
Wetangula  to  have invited the Head of Mission of the GOSS to Kenya to
come  and  listen  and  shade  more light to this matter for an onwards
transmission  to  his  government  in Juba. Mr. Issak said he was aware
that  Kenya and Southern Sudan was one country. He said Kenyans in Juba
follow  the  law for entrenchment of businesses. He said they were able
to   get   approval   from   the  land  commission,  local  government,
commissioners  of the town, legal affairs and ministry for commerce and
trade.  He  said  there was no single step left during this venture. He
displayed  some  documents  to  justify  his  claim.  The  Hon Minister
Wetangula  had  to  go  through the documents and identified some legal
procedures followed by the traders.

The  meeting ended fruitful awaiting an official communication from the
Kenyan  ministry  for  Foreign Affairs to the GOSS through the Ministry
for Regional Cooperation.

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Written by torit1955

March 12, 2009 at 10:52 am

Posted in Business

Sounds Familiar?The Madhivanis’ thirst for Land in Northern Uganda must be shelved

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Readers,

Obargot Paabwola, a Ugandan writing about land policy and economic governance in Uganda, thoroughly analyzed the land policy is Uganda which is skewed to privatization of land in Northern Uganda thus leading to dispossession of the local communities who are yet to recover from two-decades of war. This is an excellent case study to our policy makers in South Sudan as external investors such as UAE, Egypt, Chinese and British invetors are now shirting their investment focus to farming to underdeveloped counties such as Sudan, Madagascar and Uganda.

Administrator

The Madhivanis’ thirst for Land in Northern Uganda must be shelved

Monday 15 December 2008 03:11.

By Obargot Paabwola

December 15, 2008 — I must begin by making an apology to readers for the length of this article which I am putting together. I am writing this long article because the issue I am addressing is of extreme importance: the question of land giveaways in Uganda, especially the land in Northern Uganda – Amuru District – where it is being alleged, the government of Uganda is scheming to take land away from the displaced locals in the area and give it to the Madhivanis to establish sugar plantation. So bare with me, and please take the time to read what I am going to say because I strongly believe and very strongly suggest Amuru land should not be given to the Madhivanis. There are better ways of bringing about development in Northern and Eastern Uganda which apparently Museveni’s regime has overlooked due to corruption and miss-governance. For many Ugandans, the name Madhivani does not invoke a lot of search in the back of their minds to know who he is. The Madhivani business gurus have been in Uganda for very long time; as long as anyone of my generation or even of the generations before me can remember. The Kakira Sugar plantation in Jinja, Busoga District, is owned and run by the Madhivanis; they have been running this plantation for ages; probably close to a century. The only time when the Madhivanis ran into trouble runing their investments in Uganda it was when General Idi Amin came to power in 1971, and for his nationalist penchant, booted all East Indians out of the country by 1972. General Idi Amin may have been an illiterate leader, but when it comes to nurturing and empowering indigenous population, he may have blundered kicking the East Indians out of the country, but putting his action in context, at least he delivered compared to Museveni who has been in power for 23 years so far. To General Idi Amin, one may argue that economically, Ugandans came first no matter the consequences – Uganda economy basically collapsing under his leadership. However, despite the collapse, had he stayed away from using brute force on some sections of Ugandan populations out fear of their disloyalty to his government, and also not provoked Tanzania’s government by attacking it in late 1978, the general may not have died in exile in Saudi Arabia even if the economy of the country was collapsing around him. I am not Amin’s apologist by any stretch, but when it comes to economic nationalism, I believe the man did the right thing. After all, before 1972 Ugandans were basically beggars, literally, in their own country. Most businesses then were run by East Indians. Their businesses were well established; spread out into even small towns across the country. Some of them were even selling stuffs in local markets. The indigenous populations, whom then were not savvy enough – as far as business acumen is concern – were basically reduced to consumerists of the East Indian goods. Their local economic activities, the proceeds of which, ended up into the coffers of these East Indian business moguls, making these people richer and richer by the day while the natives, poorer and poorer. It was only after General Idi Amin booted the East Indians out of the country when Ugandans began to taste what it means to run their own economy. After the 1972 revolution which saw many East Indians driven out of the country, shop ownerships among the indigenous population spread like wildfire. From Kampala, the capital city, to small village centres across the country, shop owners became none other than the indigenous people. Many Ugandans, who plunged into businesses head-on, commenced acquiring wealth despite the fact that they were not savvy enough to conduct sound businesses. At the time, what was important to them was the fact that they were now running their own economy despite the inefficiencies and level of corruption; the rest did not count very much. The honey moon however was short lived. For, by 1986 when the NRA/M came to power, after fighting a five years guerilla war, the populations of Uganda were set to be disenfranchised once again. It was therefore not long after the NRA/M came to power that the same East Indians who had been booted off the country by General Idi Amin – most of them had taken up refuge and citizenships in countries like Britain, Canada, The US, Australia, et cetera, were invited to come back. Today Uganda economy is basically back in their hands. Some of them are now running big businesses in the country – virtually controlling the economy. The likes of the Madhivanis control sugar productions in the country almost exclusively. Given their extensive connections in countries like Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The US, the indigenous population are no match to these people as long as there are no government intervention on behalf of the indigenes. Uganda economy is therefore falling back into their hands perfectly – just like it was before General Idi Amin booted them off the country. Taking advantage of the NRA/M disdain for Ugandans generally – considering that 23 years has elapsed without any tangible development in the country – the East Indians are wasting no time to disenfranchised Ugandans one more time, and the Madhivanis are at the forefront of these disenfranchisements. Not only are the indigenous populations being disenfranchised in the area of business, land as well is becoming a very contentious issue, for some of these people are now scheming on taking even land from the indigenous populations. Currently there are claims that the Madhivanis are now venturing further and deeper into the countryside; into places they never dreamt of establishing their Sugar plantation businesses in before. Of particular concern and the reason for this lengthy write-up is the question of Amuru land in Northern Uganda. There are of course land wrangles almost all over the country. For instance, in Buganda region, the Baganda are furious that the government of Museveni is trying to take their land away and give it off to foreign investors. Recall the contentious issue of Mabira forest land giveaway the galvanized almost the entire nation into action, protesting violently, the giveawy of which Museveni’s government had to back down? It is therefore a foregone conclusion that the fallouts from these land wrangles are going to be dire should the NRA/M government proceed to dispossess the population of the country of their land. In that light therefore, I will like to touch on the confrontation between Northern Ugandan population and Museveni’s regime, over the question of giving away Amuru land to the Madhivanis. The question of Amuru land thus far has been in the news for some time now despite the fact that the local population also, who have for the last 20 years suffered immensely due to the war between the NRA/M government and the LRA/M, made their position very clear they do not want their land given away to any foreign investors. Just like the Baganda in the South, the locals in the North are also furious and do not want their land tempered with or simply forcefully taken away from them and sold to foreign investors; at least not now. The important thing to note on this contentious issue is that what the Madhivanis and the government of Uganda are up to in Northern Uganda is, trying to buy off land from the locals, especially in Amuru District so that the subjugation and despoliation of the population in the region continues. Recall that these are people who have been under war for the last two decades and the entire populations were forcefully herded into camps. Recall also that the very tactics being used currently by the Democratic Republic of Congo rebels, the CNDP, of shooting on sight, any able bodied young men the rebels come across were also used by the NRA on the population of Northern and Eastern Uganda. I personally lost a few of my classmates that way; they were simply gun down because they were deemed potential recruits into the rebel ranks. With such gruesome crimes on the populations, why would someone want to take advantage of the population’s situation – majority of who still live in the dilapidated camps – and dispossess them of their ancestral land? There is nothing the government of Museveni is up to save, to try and take advantage of the diabolical situation in the region given the over 20 years of war that virtually rendered the entire population of Northern Uganda the poorest in the country, to dispossess them of their land. It appears, to the government, whatever the position of the people of Northern Uganda, the land must be taken away and given to the Madhivanis. The people of the North have made it abundantly clear, and on many occasion – through their leaders – that they do not want their land sold to any foreign investors! Members of parliament from the region have communicated this message many times to both the Madhivanis and the NRA/M government. Yet the government of Museveni keeps pushing the envelope so the land are taken away and given to the Madhivanis to establish a Sugar plantation in the area. What part of ’we do not want our land given to any foreign investors’ do the Musevenis and the Madhivanis not understand? The people of Northern Uganda have said “NO!” to this venture and that is what must count; not pushing the envelope and provoking the population. The bogus arguments by the Museveni’s regime that the government of Uganda in collaborations with other players are engaged in bringing in development through wooing foreign investors into the country to come and invest, are at best mediocre arguments. First of all, the Madhivanis have been in Uganda for almost a better part of a century. If foreign investors bring development into a country, what development have the Madhivanis brought, for instance, to Jinja municipality to begin with, let alone Busoga District where they own Kakira Sugar works and have owned it for decades? Despite years and years of running Kakira Sugar works, the Madhivani investments in Jinja have brought absolutely zero development in the area. Jinja infrastructures are still the same old infrastructure left behind by colonialists. The Owen falls dam for instance where hydro electric power station is built, and that supply the country with electricity – situated right beside Jinja town – is falling apart because of ware and tears. These ware and tears are the reasons why electricity supply in the country is quite erratic and in many cases, the country goes without electricity for weeks! Does it make sense that a country like Uganda, which has no manufacturing base that would consume high volume of electric supply, goes for weeks without electricity yet it has hydro electric power station situated in her second largest city? Also, poverty in Jinja and surrounding area are as high as that of Northern Uganda where 20 years of war has devastated the populations. Transportation alone is terribly lacking in Jinja. People who work in Kakira Sugar plantation cannot live in Jinja town; they must live in the plantation for various reasons including lack of adequate transport systems. What kind of foreign investors are the Musevenis and their NRA/M government talking about then when even streets in Kampala are potholed to the max, enough to attract foreign tourists? The merely labour employment in Kakira Sugar works cannot be considered gainful employment; their meager incomes don’t even contribute to one-tenth of Jinja economy. The overwhelming majority of the populations of Jinja who support Jinja economy do not work in the plantation. The plantation workers are merely people who are being used, abused and exploited by the Madhivanis. What kind of employment and development are the Musevenis talking of then with their grand plan to establish another plantation farm in Northern Uganda? There is no such thing as “foreign investors bring development in a country”. Such blanket statement is misleading. In UAE where foreign investments are bearing fruits, the foreign investments are carefully attracted and sedately designed and tailored – through rules and regulations – towards particular industries, in this case, promotion of tourism. Besides, the UAE had to make sure, by law, that their citizens are accorded utmost treatments such that when it comes to providing services, the UAE citizens must always come first. This means foreign investors must play by the rules or get kicked out of the country. Foreign investments in UAE are not merely wooed into the country in jumble; they are tailored for particular industries, while the government of UAE handles the rest of the economic sectors. This is true as well of Macao in the Philiphines. Foreign investments in Macao are tailored toward promoting tourism. Consequently most investments in that Island are directed towards putting in place infrastructure that support gaming and casino industry. If you look at Macao and UAE economies today, you will find that they are the fastest growing. This is because of prioritizing foreign investments based on the locations and situations of these countries. In Africa, leaders like Museveni would rather, foreign investments be invited anyhow, and are granted rights in all sectors. Governments therefore absolve themselves of any responsibilities to their citizens. Yet foreign investors always work to maximize their profits and not to cater for citizens of a country. Where laws are lax like in Uganda therefore, foreign investors do quickly take advantage of the laxity in laws to rapidly build their wealth. Whether citizens are suffering or not, is none of their business. That is why the plantation workers in Kakira Sugar works owned by the Madhivanis are suffering to this day under dilapidated working environment and meagre wages. For, as long as the Madhivanis pay whatever money they agreed to pay to the government, what they do with their plantation workers is none of the government’s business! That is why up to today, the plantation workers in Kakira Sugar works are still the same armies of poverty-stricken men and women who came from all over the country in search of employment many years past but ever since have never developed beyond cutting sugar cane in the plantation farm! Some of them have even failed, for all these many years, to travel to their home villages because they cannot afford transportation costs. How could they when Museveni’s regime has privatized public transport system as well? Despite the fact that these people are employed by the Madhivanis, their conditions have not changed in all these decades. The work environment has not changed; the pays are as meager as ever; probably the same pay as it was before General Amin took action to reclaim Uganda economy. The plantation workers therefore live like slaves literally. Even worse is the fact that these plantation workers’ rights are being violated or trampled upon left, right, and centre. Recently when the workers embarked on exercising their workers’ rights through protests and demonstrations, demanding that there be improvements in their work environment, including pays, what happened? Museveni’s government instead chose to dispatch gun wielding security forces into the plantation settlement in order to forcefully bring the protests to an end as if Kakira Sugar works is the last remaining plantation of the infamous American plantations of the slavery era where African slaves suffered gross inhumanity. The government of Museveni took this action because they believe there can never be consequences; after all they have for all these years been using heavy handedness on the populations of Uganda with impunity. Second, if foreign investments bring development in a country why is it that Uganda, under the current pro-foreign investors regime, failed miserably in the last 23 years from registering development of any kind? It has been 23 years since Museveni took power yet there are no tangible development in the country. All indices that show whether a country is developed or developing, point to the opposite – that Uganda is not developing. The human development index for instance indicates that Uganda is terribly underdeveloped. People are suffering from all kinds of diseases including malaria and aids. No tangible development has been made in this area to help ease the sufferings. Uganda health industry is in shamble. Referral hospitals like Mulago in Kampala operate without drugs and medical instruments; sometime the hospital carries expired drugs! Outside the cities and towns, health centres don’t exist. People suffer all kinds of sickness like animals; others die and others survive due to their immune systems resisting and fighting off the diseases. Yet we have leaders in Kampala who gloat about wooing into the country foreign investments. Also, the economic development index is as dismal as it can ever get! Uganda does not manufacture any kinds of goods. So the manufacturing industry does not exist. In the area of agriculture, the country does not seem to have any policies governing agricultural industry. There seems to have been attempts to promote private large scale farming in the past. But the country does not have anything to show for that. Most agricultural productions are therefore carried out on the basis of subsistence agricultural. Because of this, the people are barely feeding themselves. In places like the North and East where wars have been raging on for two decades, even subsistence agriculture is dead. People in these areas are being fed by NGOs. Further, infrastructure wise, the government of Museveni has put in place absolutely nothing in 23 years. Roads almost do not exist. Access to places outside the city simply is impossible in many cases. The very roads that were prepared by colonialists are the very roads that are still being used today. Even worse, most are not tarmarcked and become out of use whenever it rains heavily. Even roads within the cities and towns that are tarmarcked, potholes have eaten them off to the point of being useless for human use. Also, Uganda railway is still the same railway system left behind by colonialists. There has never been improvement or expansion of the railway system. The railway wagons are still the same including the railway tracks. Now, here is a government that is fighting tooth and nail to promote foreign investors’ businesses and is hell bent on selling Amuru land to the Madhivanis. A government that, on its own, cannot provide basic, simple but necessary services to its citizens! How can such a government claims to be working with foreign investors in order to create jobs and bring in development? They have failed to create jobs on their own, 23 years of the time, and the plantation workers of Kakira Sugar works owned by Madhivani cannot even afford to feed their immediate families! By what magic are they going to change the conditions in Northern Uganda through establishing the same kind of sugar plantation? And to crown it all, out of all these, we should not forget that the country’s budgets are, year after year, being propped up by donor nations to the tune of 50%. If foreign investors bring development into a country why is it that Uganda government is unable to meet its budgetary requirements? Why is it that foreign investments that the Musevenis keep singing about have failed to help eased all these dire conditions stipulated? Are the foreign investments the Musevenis talk about wooing into the country a different kind of foreign investments? Although corruption is fraught in the country, it would be advisable to note that foreign investors always look for their own interests through profit repatriations, which might explain why the Madhivanis have not been able to transform Kakira Sugar plantation. The question then is, why would Museveni, if the president really has sound judgement, wants to give Amuru land to the Madhivanis when the same Madhivanis have done absolutely nothing in terms of econmic and gainful employment development in Jinja? The resume of the Madhivanis are a matter of public record for all to see. Why is Museveni’s regime failing to see glaring failures in the resume? Matter of poor jugdement? Can the NRA/M government explain the apparent dilapidated state of economy of the country to the populations therefore before talking of giving Amuru land to the Madhivanis? We have an entire population of Northern Uganda rendered unproductive after having killed so many in a war they did not understand the reasons for! How then can the Musevenis and the Madhivanis keep pushing for an already overburden population in Northern Uganda to be dispossessed of their land when the same Madhivani has nothing to show out of Kakira Sugar plantation? What moral authority do the Musevenis and Madhivanis have to keep on insisting on the notion of acquiring land in Amuru for another Madhivani Sugar plantation when the Madhivani Sugar works in Kakira cannot even provide acceptable working environment and conditions for the armies of poor Ugandans working the Kakira sugar plantation – they have not been able to provide acceptable working environment for years and years? The people of Uganda cannot be disenfranchised through hypocritical claims of bringing in foreign investors. The history of NRA/M government is replete with failed economic policies because of poor judgement, and the increased number of poverty-stricken populations is proof. Ugandans know all these. Foreign investment does not bring development for a country. Foreign investment only suplements a country’s economy, which can lead to speeding up the country’s economic growth provided there are favourable conditions. Things like infrastructure and skilled population must already be in place for any foreign investments to contribute to economic development. Unfortunately in Uganda, all the above are lacking. There is therefore nothing NRA/M regime can do as from today that can bring about miraculous economic development in the country. Foreign investors do not bring developments in a country, especially a country like Uganda where even infrastructure do not exist; the populations largely illiterates; and means of communications are basically none existence! How can foreign investments bring about economic developments in such a country? In Northern Uganda, the 20 years war has even worsen the already dire conditions in the region. Almost 100% of the population is unskilled. How can the NRA/M leadership even think of taking advantage of the population? What the North need are heavy investments in educational and skill training! Not exploitations. What the Musevenis and the Madhivanis are looking for in Northern Uganda are merely continuation of the same old, tired exploitations of Ugandans like it was and still is the case in Kakira and Lugazi Sugar plantations, nothing more nothing less. And as a people who want to see more than the exploitations of our people, we cannot accept this hypocritical, capitalist informed venture. Therefore, the idea of giving Amuru land to the Madhivanis must be shelved; we do not need it, for it is informed by the same old, tired capitalist ideology that has continued to impoverished many Ugandans without end. The people of Uganda are poorer and suffering tremendously today to the extent that there is need for an effective and ideologically sound and informed policy implementations – which the government of Museveni has failed to put in place for now 23 years. Unfortunately the same can never be ushered in the country 23 years later; NRM-O leadership who are quasi Marxists today, and flat footed capitalists without capitals tomorrow – depending on which direction the wind is blowing, have failed. Such leaderships therefore only facilitate the dilapidation and destruction of our populations. Ugandans can do better. The Musevenis’ and the Madhivanis’ thirst for land in Northern Uganda therefore must be shelved; we do not need such unscrupulous investments at this material time when especially rampant ideological bankruptcy in the country is the order of the day. It would cause more damage to the populations than good. The writer can be reached at: Obargot@hotmail.com

Written by torit1955

December 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Oil company in South Sudan shifts to farming business

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After a long drawn struggle that had engulfed White Nile Limited, Total, SPLM and the Governments of Sudan both in the South and North, an the citizens of Jonglei state in South Sudan, White decided to call it quits as far as its interest in oil extraction is conerned, opting for agribuiness instead.

Will agribusiness be less riskier than investment in oil business in South Sudan? Only time will tell.

Interesting White Nile Board ditched their erstwhile SPLM allies, Egward Lino Abyei and Dr. Lual Deng (both former close confidants of late Dr John Garang, from the board, a tale telling decision.

December 14, 2008 (PARIS) — A British oil company doing business in Southern Sudan have decided to move into the agricultural sector according to a press release.

White Nile Limited said in a statement that it will hold a meeting early next year to get approval for the change from its stockholders.

“Due to certain situations beyond the control of the Board, including the fluctuating political situation in Southern Sudan and the current global economic downturn, it has not been possible, to date, to fully maximize the initial perceived value of the Company’s portfolio” the company said.

“The company’s current strategy of concentrating on oil & gas exploration is not now in the best interest of shareholders” it said.

White Nile Limited which went public in 2005 obtained drilling rights in southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria.

“The Board has identified the agricultural sector in Africa as being an area of activity which it believes is resilient enough to generate returns on investment even in this current economic environment”.

It says that the proposed name for the new company is Agriterra Limited which requires acquiring or investing in agricultural related companies within 12 months.

In a separate move the company also announced that two of its board members Edward Lino and Lual Deng are no longer non-executive directors effective immediately.

“Mr Lino and Dr Deng had been appointed to the Board as representatives of NilePet, and given that the deferral of NilePet’s shares has now been formalized, pending such time as clarity of title is achieved in respect of the Block Ba oil concession in Southern Sudan” the group said.

“It was decided that in these circumstances it would be sensible, logical and appropriate for Mr Lino and Dr Deng to vacate their respective directorships, with immediate effect” White Nile said.

Both figures are members of Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM)

Written by torit1955

December 15, 2008 at 8:22 am