MPs have protested against the biased criteria used in compensating Ugandan traders who supplied goods to the Government of South Sudan.
Last year, Parliaments endorsed government's request to clear 151 billion Shillings debt owed to Ugandan traders and companies by the South Sudan government.
The traders supplied goods and services to South Sudan between 2008 and 2010 but were not paid due to the outbreak of conflict in December 2013.
South Sudan and Uganda then entered into a mutual agreement which could see Uganda clear the debt and treat it as a loan to the Government of South Sudan.
The money will be paid back within five to 10 years at a six percent interest rate after the first year. But the arrangement required parliamentary approval.
However, MPs have raised concern that of the 33 companies verified, only 10 have been compensated 40 billion shillings, while over 120 other companies are yet be compensated.
Okin PP Ojara the Chua West MP says that the Government should halt the compensation process and consider all the 100 companies.
“We should stop this payment until an independent audit firm to verify these companies. It is unfair for one person to be paid a bulk of money while others have not got anything”. Okin says.
Pentagon Kamusiime the Butemba County MP says that is not fair for any Government program to benefit a few individuals. He says Government should ensure all Ugandans that supplied South Sudan are paid.
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Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South MP says that there is suspicion over who is being compensated.
He says Government should at least use the little money it has to compensate all the companies.
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However, the Minister of Finance (Planning) David Bahati says that the 10 companies that were paid were not subject to joint verification because they draw their credence from memorandum of understanding that was already signed, according to the advice of the Attorney General while the rest were still undergoing verification.
“We are aware about the urgency to pay these people. We want to have another independent audit of the companies before we can pay them” he says.
The money was paid in a single account of the Uganda-South Sudan Grain Traders and Suppliers Association Limited, which consists of; Aponye Uganda, Kibungo Enterprises, KK Transporters, Ropani International Company, APO General Agency, and Queens Transport, Trade and Investment.
Others are Gunya Company Ltd owned by Geoffrey Okwir, Odyek Ejang Company Limited, Ake-Jo General Enterprises Ltd and J.B Traders.
Additional, part of the compensation will go to the Joint Association for Redemption of Ugandan Traders in South Sudan which consists of traders with small and diverse claims.