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No Money to Pay South Sudan Traders-Kasaija

Appearing on Wednesday to explain about the delay of payment of the traders, Kasaija said Government did not have money to pay the traders because it had deferred several other payments due to lack of money in the COVID-10 crisis.
A section of South Sudan traders appearing before the Parliament Select Committee.

Audio 3

The Minister for Finance Matia Kasaija has told Parliament that the government does not have money to pay Ugandan traders who supplied goods to South Sudan.

In 2019, Parliament approved 900 Billion shillings for traders that supplied goods and services to the South Sudan government between 2008 and 2010. The traders were not paid following the outbreak of the conflict in 2013.

The payment follows a 2010 mutual agreement between South Sudan and Uganda. According to the agreement, Uganda was supposed to clear the debt and treat it as a loan to the government of South Sudan. The money was to be paid back within five to 10 years at a six per cent interest rate after the first year. 

However despite Parliament appropriating 78 billion shillings, the Ministry of Finance has been hesitant to release the funds.   

Appearing on Wednesday to explain about the delay to pay the traders, Kasaija said Government did not have money to pay the traders because it had deferred several other payments due to lack of money in the COVID-10 crisis. 

//Cue in: “We have been… 

Cue out:…a cabinet decision”//  

However, Kampala Central Member of Parliament Mohammed Nsereko said that Parliament’s authority was being challenged by the Minister. He tasked the Minister to pay the traders or resign.

 //Cue in: “There is only…. 

Cue out;…pays or resigns”// 

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga ruled that the government should pay the traders since Parliament's decisions have never been rescinded.

//Cue in: “No one has… 

 Cue out:…go and pay”//

The MOU initially signed between the Government and that of South Sudan covers 10 companies which include Rubya Investments, Kibungo Enterprises, Aponye (U) Limited, Afro Kai Ltd, Swift Commodities Establishment Ltd, Sunrise Commodities, Ms Sophie Omari, Apo General Agencies, Ropani International and K.K Transporters. These companies have already been given at least 41 billion shillings. However, the companies are now 82 in total.