LIBYA has forgiven Uganda a debt totalling US$160m under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, finance minister Gerald Ssendaula told Parliament yesterday.
Ssendaula and the Attorney General, Francis Ayume, were answering queries relating to the colossal sums of money awarded to various foreign companies by the courts in suits against the Government.
Ssendaula and Ayume said some of Ugandaâ€™s creditors, particularly private companies which are not part of the Paris Club, had refused to cancel the debts under the HIPC terms, but had gone to court.
He said Iraq was one of the creditors that had dragged Uganda to court over debt repayment. Ayume said under HIPC terms, Uganda was expected to pay only US12 cents out of every dollar it owed. But creditors who are not in the Paris Club such as Iraq, wanted full payment with interest.
Ssendaula said Libya, which is not a member of Paris Club of creditors, had agreed to cancel the debt. The Government was also negotiating debt relief with India.
Ssendaula said under HIPC, Uganda had got debt relief of $1.7b. The total debt stock originally amounted to $3.8b. He said Uganda could not pay debts outside the HIPC terms.
Some MPs accused officials in the finance ministry and the Attorney Generalâ€™s Chambers of colluding with foreign firms to defraud the Government through law suits.
Samia Bugwe North MP Aggrey Awori cited a case where a Yugoslav company, Sour Fab Famos, which supplied 50 trucks to the Government, was paid over US$1.3m on court order.
Libyans Cancel $160m Debt