Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija has again skipped attendance of plenary sessions where he is meant to answer questions over delayed payment of South Sudan traders.
Kasaija who appeared in Parliament at 11:00 am to meet with Kadaga and Isimba dam contractors was also sighted at lunch time in Parliament but was not present for plenary sessions which kicked of at 3:00 pm.
According to the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, the Minister of Finance has kept the issues of South Sudan traders’ payment for over two months now on the order paper and tomorrow he should appear at all costs.
This is not the first time the Finance Minister is a no show to attend plenary and answer questions of payment of South Sudan traders. In June, Parliament accused the Ministry of Finance of avoiding to pay off Ugandan traders who supplied goods to South Sudan.
Kadaga had initially said that no business of the Ministry of finance will be processed until the matter of payment of South Sudan traders had been dealt with.
Haruna Kasolo, the State Minister in charge of Microfinance promised to ensure that the Minister of Finance attends plenary and answers questions on payment of traders.
Muyanja Johnson Ssenyonga, the MP Mukono South however questioned why the Minister was present in Parliament but decided to dodge to come to the house.
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 percent interest rate after the first year.
However since 2019 despite Parliament appropriating money, the Ministry of Finance has been hesitant to release the funds. The MoU initially signed between the government and that of South Sudan covers 10 companies namely 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.