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Opinion | Dr. Chol Deng Thon: The Only Hope for South Sudan Oil Sector Reform

By Deng Akok Muoradid,

Dr. Chol Deng Thon at the construction site of Nilepet Headquarters in Juba(Photo credit: supplied)
Dr. Chol Deng Thon at the construction site of Nilepet Headquarters in Juba(Photo credit: supplied)

Mar 3, 2021(Nyamilepedia) — The former Managing Director of Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited, Dr. Chol Deng Thon is a renowned reformist who  had reformed and transformed the state oil firm to the level where it is today. It is undeniable that Nilepet was at the verge of collapsing before Dr Chol’s appointment as a managing director. During the reign of Dr. Chol’s predecessors, Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited ( Nilepet) was experiencing high rates of corruption, nepotism, inability to import the fuel etc. Nilepet had no permanent premises or headquarters since it was operating in  rented premises. All those challenges put the national oil firm at high risk of collapse. 

However, Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited was rescued by President Salva Kiir when he appointed a technocrat, nationalist, hard-working and an experienced Engineer ( PhD) in the form of Dr Chol Deng as the managing director. Upon assuming the office, Dr. Chol Deng Thon embarked on achieving a total reformation and transformation of the national oil firm ( Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited) as well as alleviating chronic corruption and nepotism. In a matter of a short period of time in the office, Dr Chol Deng Thon succeeded in reforming the Nilepet through complete eradication of corruption, nepotism, importation and supply of the fuel to all the states as well as the construction of Nilepet Headquarters. Below are the tangible and visible achievements of Dr. Chol Deng Thon in the South Sudan Oil Sector.

  1. Eradication of financial corruption and nepotism in Nilepet.

During the leadership of Dr. Chol’s predecessors, Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited was engulfed in corruption and nepotism. Recruitment was done on the basis of blood relationship. Corruption was the policy of the day. However, the appointment of Dr. Chol Deng Thon marked an end to all forms of malpractices especially corruption and nepotism. As an experienced technocrat and PhD holder, Dr Chol managed to implement the Nilepet policies without failure. He implemented human resource policies in which citizens were recruited on the basis of merits and academic qualifications. These malpractices which Dr Chol Deng eradicated in Nilepet resurfaced immediately after his relief from the position of managing director.

  1. Importation and supply of fuel to Juba and the rest of states in South Sudan

There was a shortage of fuel in Juba and across the country at the time of previous managing directors. Before the appointment of Dr. Chol Deng as a managing director of Nilepet, the citizens used to queue at the petrol stations for days or weeks. Getting fuel at that time was as difficult as entering into heaven. Immediately after taking over the office, Dr. Chol Deng Thon released enough funds for the importation of fuel into the country and its supply to all the states. In a matter of one week prior to his appointment, fuel was in great abundance in all the petrol stations across the country. Long queues at the Petrol Stations became the things of the past. 

  1. Construction of Nilepet Headquarters

One of the tangible accomplishments of Dr. Chol Deng Thon is the initiation and construction of Nilepet’s headquarters premises in Juba. He realized that it was shameful for a national company to operate in rented premises. Therefore, he initiated the construction of the company’s headquarters. He implemented it by constructing a tallest tower in Juba as a Nilepet head office. Many citizens of South Sudan came to know about the existence of Nilepet through this tallest tower which Dr. Chol Deng Thon constructed. The premise was at the final stage at the time of Dr. Chol’s relieve and its construction would have been completed if Dr. Chol Deng Thon was given extra one month in the office. The construction of the Nilepet Headquarters was put on hold by Dr. Chol’s successor.

  1. Construction of Oil Refinery 

Since South Sudan always exports its crude oil to Port Sudan due lack of oil refineries in the country. Dr. Chol Deng Thon decided to find a permanent solution by initiating and building the first oil refinery in the Republic of South Sudan. He began building the long awaited oil refinery and its construction was near completion at the time of his ( Dr Chol) removal from the office. The oil refinery is currently under construction and many citizens might have been misinformed that it is an initiative of the incumbent managing director. The citizens of South Sudan need to be informed that it was their beloved son Dr. Chol Deng Thon who initiated and started building the oil refinery in South Sudan.

  1. Recruitment of competent young youths into Nilepet

Hundreds of capable and competent South Sudanese Youths from different states and tribes were recruited into the Nile Petroleum Corporation Limited by the administration of Dr. Chol Deng Thon. The youths were employed on the basis of competency and academic qualifications, unlike Dr. Chol’s successor who has planted hundreds of his blood relatives in the Nilepet.

  1. Building of specialized clinic for the presidential guards division

Dr. Chol Deng Thon has built a modern equipped clinic for the presidential guards as a part of social corporate responsibility. The specialized clinic which Dr. Chol Deng built for the presidential guards is equipped with modern medical equipment. The clinic is currently serving as the treatment centre not for only the presidential guards but for the entire South Sudanese. All kinds of human diseases are being treated at that specialized clinic.

In conclusion, The Republic of South Sudan is spiritually blessed to have such a patriotic, hard-working and an experienced Engineer ( PhD) in the form of Dr. Chol Deng Thon. He has unquestionable capability and knowledge to transform and reform the South Sudan Oil Sector in less one year if he is given another chance as a Nilepet MD or any other influential position in the oil sector. As the Bible says” Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God”. Dr. Chol Deng Thon deserves appreciation from all of us for the achievements that he had accomplished in the oil sector.  I predict our oil sector will be competing with the oil sectors of South Africa and Angola if Dr. Chol Deng Thon is given another chance.

The Author is a Senior Activist. He can be reached via emai: dengakokmuoradid@gmail.com or Tel: +211921637574,


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