Community oil share in thin air, says Bichiok

Community oil share in thin air, says Bichiok

Members of parliament in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly lamented the lack of transparency in the management of the 5 % oil revenue share for state development and communities in Unity and Upper Nile states.

The Chairperson of the Specialized Committee on Finance in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), Changkuoth Bichiok, said the lawmakers representing people from the oil-producing state are disappointed over what they described as “the misuse of oil revenue in the states.”

Bichiok who spoke during the discussion on the effect of oil on the environment and the use of oil revenue in states last week, said that until now, the parliament does not know how the money is being used. He called on the ministry of finance and planning to provide the necessary data.

“We in the parliament of both houses are not happy with how the 3% and 2% are being used and the way it has been managed in Upper Nile State and Unity State,” Bichiok said.

“They (oil revenue) do not go where they are supposed to go, and that is an issue,” he said.

He said as the representatives of the people, the parliament remains committed to ensuring that the oil revenue share that belongs to the community is given to the community as the state takes its share.

He reiterated that the 3 per cent oil revenue share was meant for the communities to benefit from their resources which he said has been the contrary.

Bichiok decried the growing negative environmental effects in the oil production areas, arguing with the 3 percent allocation, the community could have managed to provide services for themselves.

According to him, the best solution to reduce the misuse of oil revenue is to form a community-driven committee that could channel the resources for community benefits.

He said the lawmakers are not informed on how much has been paid to the community and the state in particular.

“We need to know in the state how much we are getting from the oil—your 3%—what amount is being given—is it really 3% or 2% or you are given less?” he said.

“We still have a question mark on that allocation that is being given,” he added.

He stated that the law is very clear and there is a need to feed the communities in the oil-producing areas with correct information regarding what they get.

“We need the communities from the oil-producing areas to give a report on how they have been using the oil share that has been given to them,” he said.

In July, during the budget discussion, the national assembly directed the Ministry of Finance and Planning to suspend the transfer of a 3 percent oil share to the state government until the Community Development Committee is established to manage the funds.