The Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan, Anthony Makana has said that South Sudan is committed to paying Ugandan traders who supplied goods.
Makana made this assurance while meeting a Ugandan delegation who are in Juba as part of their investigations into the payment of the Ugandan traders. The meeting with the Select Committee took place on, Tuesday, 30 April 2019.
“As Parliament, we will be standing with you. Once the Ministry of Finance appropriates funds for Ugandan traders in the budget, we will not tamper with it, we will pass it on such that the traders will be paid, ” Makana said.
Makana said that South Sudan which enjoys good relations with Uganda is indebted to paying of the loan, where Ugandan traders supplied goods to the government of South Sudan.
Makana urged the Committee to appeal to South Sudan’s Ministry of Finance to plan for traders’ payments in the forthcoming budget.
“The Ministry of Finance will table the budget before Parliament in May.When you meet them, appeal to them to include traders’ claims in the budget,”he added.The Select Committee chairperson, Ann Maria Nankabirwa told Makana, that Uganda also requires South Sudan to verify all claimants. “Parliament is interested in payment of traders; we are ready to appropriate money but we need an agreement with Sudan on genuine traders, ” Nankabirwa said.
Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga urged Makana to use his position and push his government to verify all claimants. “Parliament of Uganda has the money and is ready to pay but it doubts the claimants. We are seeking faster approval of claimants by south Sudan. We want your Parliament to push government to put up a verification committee and make the process faster, ” Mpuuga said
The Select Committee is set to meet various agencies in South Sudan that were engaged in the purchase of goods from Ugandan traders as per the bi-lateral agreement of 2016.
In 2016, the Government of South Sudan requested Uganda to pay Ugandan traders who supplied items to South Sudan..
To operationalize this arrangement, South Sudan signed a bilateral agreement in whose effect was borrowing of money from Uganda to be repaid. Ministry of Finance reports indicate that Uganda, has been able to pay only 10 companies to a tune of shs40 billion since the issuance of a sovereign guarantee by South Sudan in January 2019.
In March 2019, Parliament set up the Select Committee to verify the actual beneficiaries of compensation; criteria used to determine the traders to be compensated and the methodology used by government in the compensation.
The House established the committee following complaints by a section of MPs saying that the compensation processes was not fair and was not in line with a parliamentary resolution on the compensation.
The select committee’s mandate to investigate the authenticity of the 10 companies whose claims have been settled, the 36 traders with documents verified by the Ministry of Trade and other traders with claims on supply of goods to South Sudan.