S.Sudan says renegotiating oil deal with Sudan

In this file photo taken on February 28, 2015 shows spent munitions lying on the ground at an abandoned oil treatment facility at Thar Jath in Unity State, South Sudan. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2019

S.Sudan says renegotiating oil deal with Sudan

  • South Sudan and Sudan in 2012 signed a deal in which Juba would pay the amount after it voted for independence
  • Talks on extending the deadline would start by the end of October

JUBA: South Sudan said Monday it was renegotiating an oil deal with Khartoum, as it will not meet a December deadline to finish paying $3 billion (2.7 billion euros) agreed as compensation for the oil-rich nation's 2011 secession.
South Sudan and Sudan in 2012 signed a deal in which Juba would pay the amount after it voted for independence, taking with it 70 percent of the oil fields Khartoum used to manage.
Petroleum Minister Awou Daniel Chuang told journalists that the cash-strapped nation had paid $2.4 billion so far, but would not manage to pay the remaining $600 million by December.
"As the contract expires we should be able to extend (the deadline) because we cannot run operations in a vacuum. This agreement is what governs the fees that we pay to Sudan," he said.
He said talks on extending the deadline would start by the end of October, adding that a team from Juba was already in Khartoum working on the issue.
Chuang said the money was paid back by deducting $15 from each barrel of oil from South Sudan -- which is processed in Sudan's refineries.
However years of fighting crippled oil production and payments fell behind.
South Sudan plunged into war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his former vice president Riek Machar of plotting a coup.
Multiple attempts at peace have failed but in September 2018 the warring parties signed an agreement to form a unity government, which would see Machar return to government as vice president.
However the formation of a unity government has been dogged by delays, and the new deadline for its formation is November 12.
At its peak, oil production in South Sudan was at 350,000 barrels a day. Since the signing of a peace deal in September 2018, production has increased from 135,000 to 178,000 barrels a day.

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.