Only 10 companies have benefited from the compensation funds that amount to about $56m
SOUTH SUDAN- The South Sudanese Parliament has assured a delegation of Ugandan MPs investigating the payment of Ugandan traders who lost merchandise or went unpaid for the supply of food items during the South Sudan civil war, that all the affected traders will be compensated as soon as possible.
Anthony Makana, the Speaker of the Traditional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan told the Ugandan MPs who are currently in South Sudan, that the South Sudan Parliament will collaborate with the government to clear Ugandan trader’s claims.
“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 such that traders will be paid,” Makana said.
In 2010, the government of Uganda signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South Sudan government under which Uganda would compensate traders who lost property or were not paid as a result of the Civil war that broke out in South Sudan.
The funds would, however, be paid as a loan to the South Sudanese government. However, since then, only 10 companies have benefited from the compensation funds that amount to about $56m.
To sort out the anomaly, MPs such as Kampala Central MP Mohammed Nsereko raised concerns to parliament about the payment, to which the Speaker of Ugandan Parliament Rebecca Kadaga instituted a select committee, chaired by Kyankwanzi district woman MP Anne Maria Nankabirwa, to investigate the selective payment, by the Ugandan ministry of finance.
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, recently told MPs that the government had in another phase approved payment of sh40b to compensate 10 companies.
The MPs, however, expressed dissatisfaction that they were the same companies that had benefited from the earlier payment.
Despite the payment anomalies on the side of Uganda, the South Sudan government assured that it would clear the money for compensation of all affected traders.
Meeting the Ugandan MPs on Tuesday in South Sudan, Makana implored the committee to appeal to South Sudan’s ministry of finance to plan for the traders’ payment in the budget for the next financial year.
On Tuesday, the select committee led by Nankabirwa, met with Anthony Makana, the speaker of the Traditional National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan and asked him to help the Ugandan parliament in the verification of the rightful claimants.
“Parliament is interested in the payment of traders, we are ready to appropriate money but we need an agreement with South Sudan on genuine traders,” Nankabirwa said.