Parliament approves of Shs 151bn payment to Uganda – South Sudan traders

Parliament has authorised the payment of Shs 151bn to the Ugandan traders who supplied goods and services to the South Sudan government between 2008 and 2010.

The payment was  approved amidst disagreements from  MP over the number of companies to be compensated.

In a motion by parliament by the State Minister for Planning David Bahati government has committed  to pay these traders after clearing the 10 companies.

The traders supplied goods and services to the South Sudan government between 2008 and 2010 but did not get their payment  due to the  conflict that broke out in December 2013.

The traders then petitioned the ministries of Finance, Trade as well as State House seeking government’s intervention to save their businesses.

This prompted both the Uganda and South Sudan  governments to enter into a mutual agreement which could see Uganda clear the debt and treat it as a loan to the government of South Sudan.

The approved money by parliament is expected to be paid back within five to 10 years at a 6% interest rate after the first year.

In a heated debate chaired by the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, MPs Semakula Luatamaguzi (Nakaseke south), Alioni Yorke Odria (Aringa South), Juliet Kinyamatama (Rakai Woman), Jessica Ababiku (Adjuman Woman) , Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central) and Amos Lugolobi (Ntenjeru North) among others argued that all the affected companies be it small or big should be compensated at the same time without discrimination.

Dokolo South MP Felix Okot Ogong, said that the list brought to parliament is selective.

“This agreement was selective, it completely ignored the Memorandum of Understanding of 2010 when it restricted payment of 10 companies which all (are owned by people) from other areas.”

The Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said that  all claimants will be paid based on verification and bilateral agreement between the two countries.

Some of the companies to be paid include; Aponye Uganda  which is to receive  $ 9m, Kibungo Enterprises $ 13.2m ,  KK Transporters $ 6.6m, Ropani International Company $ 4.4m, APO General Agencies $ 4.3m  and Queens Transport, Trade and Investment $ 3.3m.