Parliament has recommended that the government pays outstanding arrears amounting to $41m (Shs150 billion) to 10 Ugandan companies that supplied maize and sorghum to South Sudan.
Under the Uganda South Sudan Grain Traders and Suppliers Association Ltd, 10 Ugandan companies reportedly supplied maize and sorghum to 10 South Sudan states under the Strategic Grain Reserves Suppliers for $56m (Shs205 billion) between 2008-2010.
However, although the money, under the agreement, was to be paid in five instalments, South Sudan government only paid the first instalment of $15m (Shss55 billion), leaving a debt of $41m (Shs150b).
A civil war broke out in the young nation in December 2013 killing tens of thousands of people and displacing over 2 million civilians.
On Tuesday, however, Parliament’s Committee on National Economy, recommended that government of Uganda pays the balance of $41m (Shs150 billion) to traders who have been verified under their association, on behalf of the South Sudan government.
South Sudan is expected to pay back the money it owes Uganda based on a repayment schedule agreed upon between the two governments in a five-year bilateral agreement running from 2018-2022.
Meanwhile, the Aringa North county lawmaker, Godfrey Onzima questioned the methodology used in the verification process by the ministry and warned that paying only 10 firms would not be of help.
“Government should look for money to pay all the traders because they all made loses,” he told Daily Monitor Tuesday.
In response, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the payments will have to be “phased” because of the critical verification process.
“We must deal with this matter comprehensively but in a phased manner because verification is very important. Therefore, all those companies that were verified by both the Uganda government and South Sudan will be paid. Eventually, the South Sudan government will reimburse,” Rugunda said.