Uganda Traders in South Sudan Demand Halt Of Compensation Process
Traders under the Uganda Traders Association of South Sudan (UTASS) have petitioned a committee of Parliament, seeking its intervention in the compensation of monies owed to them by the South Sudan government.
Members of UTASS, led by its chairman Patrick Ntege, appeared before the Trade and Tourism committee on November 23, 2016, to put forth their petition regarding government’s plan to compensate Ugandan traders who are demanding arrears from the South Sudan government and companies.
The arrears accrue from services and goods supplied in South Sudan, however since the civil war broke out at the end of 2013, they have not been paid.
The traders estimate their arrears to be Shs 142 billion while government recently agreed to compensate the traders as a deal brokered with South Sudan to pay back the money within 50 months.
However, Ntege told MPs on the committee that they do not trust the ongoing process to verify and pay affected traders. Ntege claimed that the process of selecting ten companies, which were recently approved by government for payment of the Shs 142 billion, was done selectively and some companies not considered.
Ntege named State Minister of Finance in charge of planning, David Bahati of his involvement and personal interests in the process. However, Bahati denied the claims, instead tasking the traders to provide evidence to their accusations.
MPs on the committee, including the vice chairman, Alex Ruhunda and Geoffrey Macho told the traders that the minister would be invited to the committee to explain his role in the compensation.
A sub-ministerial committee comprising five ministries, including Finance; Foreign Affairs; Trade, Information and National Guidance and the Attorney General’s office was set up in October 2016 to handle the matter. The ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance were also asked to develop modalities of payment with South Sudan.