File Photo: Central Bank Governor, Mr Jamal Abdalla Wani

The Central Bank of South Sudan has come up with plans to buy crude gold from local miners, in a bid to generate revenue from resources other than oil.

Mr Jamal Abdalla Wani, the Central Bank Governor, told reporters in Juba on Tuesday that the government has approved $4 million and the bank has released an additional $1.5 million for the plan.

“With that crude gold, if we have enough of it, then we can go to the next step of refining it. That means we have to get pure gold in the bank,” Wani explained.

He further said, “The president never disappointed us, he requested 4 million dollars to be released from the ministry of finance.”

The central bank governor further explained that the institution’s plan came after prices of crude oil in the international market dropped, besides the negative impact of the novel coronavirus.

South Sudan remains heavily dependent on Income from crude oil which accounts for 98 percent of its budget.

The Central Bank Governor says the gold will be bought from local miners. “We need to attract them so that we can buy more gold,” he said.   

Additionally, he said they also plan to support agricultural projects, especially the production of Gum Arabic. “This will strengthen the local currency against the US Dollar and also enable us to obtain loans,” he said.

South Sudanese scholars and economists have been criticising the government’s policy of relying heavily on the oil sector to fund its budget while neglecting other vital sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and mining.

A report by the US-based Sentry group in March 2020, said South Sudan’s gold mining sector is riddled with corruption involving President Salva Kiir’s relatives, military leaders, and other senior officials.