South Sudan, Sudan to resume border trade

Ladu Lokak

South Sudan and Sudan are set to resume normal trading following the promise made by the government of Sudan to open the waterway and various roads at the border point to allow free movement of goods between the two Countries.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Moses Hassan Tiel said the decision was reached after an earlier promise was made by the Sudanese government on water trade and exchange of technical expertise in the areas of petroleum, finance as well as trade after the two ministers met in Khartoum last week.

“The next step is that the President of Sudan, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir has invited our President, Salva Kiir Mayardit for a meeting and we are optimistic that such a high-level meeting would bring a big change between the two Countries. We hope that in the nearby future trading will be boosted as it was earlier,” Minister Hassan said while briefing businessmen and women and as well as Chambers of Commerce and Agriculture on the development at his office in Juba yesterday.

Minister emphasized that agreement on River transport is more important because goods that come from the river are bulk compared to those coming by roads.
“All of us know that river transport is the most viable root of transporting food items and commodities that it will be able to reach most parts of the Country including Juba because we shall be expecting about 4,000 tonnes of goods per week,” said Hassan.

When the Minister was asked on the issue of insecurity, he said the two countries will boost security on both roads and water for free movement of goods.
The South Sudanese tycoons have welcomed the initiative, According to Ladu Lukak, goods that come from Sudan are of quality compared to other goods that come from East Africa. He said he will be able to transport more food stuff and goods in case water transport has improved in order to fill the markets in the Country.
“Bringing sorghum from Renk through Palouch is a problem when they open waterway things will be fine and the prices will go down at once in the markets,” said Lukak.
The Secretary-General at South Sudan Chambers of Commerce and Agriculture, Simon Akuei said river-way use between Bor and Malakal has availed the markets with food items and its prices have also reduced. He said sorghum used to be sold at SSP 11,000 per 100kg but now it has reduced to SSP 8,000.

“We are very excited about the initiative because river transport is cheaper and quantitative, the government should also encourage Sudan to export their products here,” said Akuei.
He said South Sudan is capable of trading back with Sudan because the country has many resources which include timbers, papyrus, and gum. “There are many things we have here that can allow us to trade together,” he added.
It is not clear whether; South Sudan will stop importing food items including other commodities if the two countries resumed trading as it was.