The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has said Parliament has accused the Ministry of Finance of avoiding to pay off Ugandan traders who supplied goods to South Sudan.
Last year in May, Parliament approved 900 Billion shillings for traders that supplied goods and services to the South Sudan government between 2008 and 2010. The traders were not paid following the outbreak of the conflict in 2013.
In 2010, South Sudan and Uganda entered into a mutual agreement which ensured that Uganda clears the debt and treats it as a loan to the government of South Sudan. The money will be paid back within five to 10 years at a six per cent interest rate after the first year.
However since 2019, despite Parliament appropriating money, the Ministry of Finance has been hesitant to release the funds.
David Bahati, the Minister of Finance in Charge of planning said that they had prepared money to pay the traders, but faced internal challenges, which he declined to disclose. He however added that the traders dragged the government to court, which now complicates the payment process.
The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga accused the Finance Ministry of intentionally not paying the traders. She said that Parliament will not deal with any business from the Ministry of Finance until they pay the traders.
Maurice Kibalya, the MP Bugabula County alleges that payment has delayed because some cabinet ministers and officials from the Finance Ministry are still divided on the payment of the traders.
The MOU initially signed between the Government and that of South Sudan covers 10 companies which include Rubya Investments, Kibungo Enterprises, Aponye (U) Limited, Afro Kai Ltd, Swift Commodities Establishment Ltd, Sunrise Commodities, Ms Sophie Omari, Apo General Agencies, Ropani International and K.K Transporters. These companies have already been given at least 41 billion shillings. However, the companies are now 82 in total.