2 April 2019

South Sudan: MPs to Meet South Sudan Government Over Traders Compensation

Photo: Irina Fuhrmann/Oxfam
(file photo).

The Parliament's select committee probing traders compensation has said they are planning to meet officials from South Sudan over the same.

The committee chaired by the Kyankwanzi District Woman MP, Ann Maria Nankabirwa, was set up to investigate the payment of Shs41 billion to 10 Ugandan companies out of 33 that Parliament had approved.

Among the 10 companies that were in the process of being paid include; Rubya Investments, Kibungo Enterprises, Aponye (U) Ltd, Afro Kai Ltd, Swift commodities establishment ltd, Sunrise commodities, Sophie Omari, Apo General Agencies, Ropani International and KK Travelers.

The process is part of a request by the Ugandan government for parliamentary approval, to clear a debt of Shs151 billion owed to Ugandan traders and companies by the South Sudan government. The traders supplied goods and services from 2008 but were never paid following a conflict that started in 2013.

The committee says it will have to interact with the South Sudan government to understand some of the issues raised by some suppliers who claim huge sums of money.

The Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga, said the suppliers have various challenges including cases where women were allegedly raped by South Sudan soldiers, others lost their merchandise in stores in Juba, while in some cases contractors in South Sudan appear to have fraudulently taken the money of Ugandans after they were paid by South Sudan.

He said it is important that if they are to give a detailed report to Parliament, they need to understand the depth of the compensation.

Mr Mpuuga said they can do this by meeting South Sudanese representatives to understand more issues.

"It is important that we try to verify some of these claims so that we can come up with a credible report," he said.

Mr Mpuuga said this on Monday at the side lines of the meeting with South Sudan suppliers, the joint action for the redemption of Ugandan traders in South Sudan, a group that comprise 129 companies and individuals.

During the meeting, the traders protested the move to compensate only a few while a group of other suppliers were languishing in losses.

Mr Zaidi Rwatooro, who demands over US$400,000 in goods supplied to individuals says government should also stand for people who supplied other individuals and they have not been paid. He says although they did not deal directly with the government of South Sudan, they should not be ignored.

"Madam Chair, it was us the small traders that petitioned this parliament for compensation, so we should be considered fundamental like the bigger traders," he said.

Companies that were not included on the list are; Roko Construction Company, Ake-jo General enterprise, JB Traders, Odyek Ejang Company, Dott Services, Gunya company limited, Premier company and MFK company among others.

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