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South Sudan Quadruples Revenue Collection Amid Austerity Budget

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- South Sudan quadrupled revenue collection as austerity measures introduced after the government shut down oil production forced the state to find alternative sources of income, Deputy Finance Minister Marial Awou Yol said.

The government is collecting as much as 60 million South Sudanese pounds ($19 million) a month in taxes and customs duties, compared with 14 million pounds before the country halted crude output in January 2012, Yol said in a phone interview from the capital, Juba, on April 27.

“Austerity measures have led to significant improvement in revenue collection,” he said.

South Sudan stopped pumping crude after accusing neighboring Sudan of stealing $815 million of its oil, which Sudan said it took to recover unpaid transport and processing fees. That and other disputes, including over border security, brought the countries to the brink of war a year ago.

Before the stoppage, South Sudan produced as much as 350,000 barrels of oil a day, which generated 98 percent of government revenue. The loss of funds forced the state to adopt an austerity budget in July. Those measures will remain in place until the end of the year, while the government awaits the resumption of oil income, Yol said.

“Austerity would have to continue because so far we’ve nothing,” Awou said. The country is scheduled to present its next budget on June 30, he said.

Equipment Damage

South Sudan may take as long as a year to reach pre-shutdown production levels because of possible damage to equipment, analysts including Paul Tossetti at PFC Energy said last month.

The country restarted output this month after it agreed with Sudan to resume transfers. The first shipment may arrive at Port Sudan by the end of May, according to Suna, Sudan’s state news agency.

South Sudan may be the world’s fastest-growing economy this year, with growth expected to be 32.1 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund. The country’s oil is pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. and India’s ONGC Videsh Ltd.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mading Ngor in Calgary via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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