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“The Ministry of Petroleum has been taken away from us,” SPLM-IO raises alarm

SPLM-IO is alarmed as the Ministry of Petroleum's powers are shifted from the minister to the undersecretary without consultation

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The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement In-Opposition (SPLM-IO) says the leadership of the SPLM-IG has taken away the Ministry of Petroleum allotted to them by the 2018 agreement via a Republican Order Number 3/2024 that separated the powers and functions of key ministry officials.

Addressing the media in Juba on Friday, the Deputy Chairperson of the SPLM-IO, Oyet Nathaniel, said the Republican Order dated January 31, 2024, titled “Separation of Powers and Functions of the Minister, the Undersecretary, and the Director General of Petroleum Authority,” has stripped the powers and functions of the Minister, including the management of Joint Operating Companies, hence violating the Petroleum Act 2012.


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For Oyet, removing the powers of the minister and giving them to the undersecretary hinders the minister from fulfilling his legal mandate and also violates the Civil Service Act, which obligates the undersecretary to be responsible to the appropriate minister.

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The 2018 Revitalised Agreement states that a minister in the national government shall be the head of his or her ministry, and his or her decisions shall prevail. Oyet stressed that this order was a result of misinterpretation and violation of Articles 106A, 4B of the Constitution.

The Deputy Chairperson acknowledges that the agreement gave power to the president to initiate reforms; however, it should be in consultation and with the agreement of the first vice
President and the other four vice presidents.

According to him, the president took the unilateral decision without consulting the first vice president and the other four vice presidents. “The order violates the agreement, Article 1.9.4.3, since there was no consultation and there was no agreement. The order is also a violation of Article 1.9.1 of the agreement,” said Oyet.

Oyet accused the Undersecretary of unnecessary travel to foreign countries for business transactions without getting any permission from the minister, and he wrote letters directly to the foreign government and copied the minister.
He added that, “Ever since this decree came, he [the Undersecretary] travels now more than how many times to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, wherever, without even taking permission from his minister. He is going to transact the business of the ministry. He now writes letters directly and copies the minister.”

According to Oyet, the undersecretary is not a member of the council of ministers, and he cannot be summoned to the parliament because he is a civil servant, and the parliament has nothing to do with him except that he should be held accountable through his minister.

The Deputy Chairperson of the SPLM-IO said they are still investigating the motive of removing the powers of the minister and giving them to the undersecretary.

In January, President Kiir issued a Republican Order separating the powers of the Ministry of Petroleum, the Undersecretary, and the Director General of the Petroleum Authority.

The Order obliged the Minister to sign treaties on behalf of the government and supervise the Ministry’s activities, as well as play a political role while following the law.

While the Undersecretary acts as Chief Accountant and is tasked with ensuring the optimal use of the Ministry’s resources and budget, rectifying signed budgets with operating companies, and assisting the Minister in implementing governance policies in the field of oil, the SPLM-IO political bureau rejects the order and calls upon the president to reverse it.

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