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Government defends non-payment of dues to EAC

Mou Mou Athian Kuol Undersecretary Ministry of Trade, Industry, and East African Community Affairs (Photo: Sheila Ponnie)

By Sheila Ponnie

The undersecretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs has defended the country’s non-payment of its obligations to the East African Community.

One of the obligations for South Sudan was to pay a contribution to the East African Community where each partner state pays 8.4million dollars annually.

“When we joined the East African Community, we joined three months right in to the year and we were asked to pay 6.7 million dollars in proportion that of course we didn’t pay,” Mou Mou Athian Kuol acknowledged in an exclusive interview last Friday.

“The subsequent year is that we paid. At least in 2018 we paid one million dollars and then comes 2019, we did not also pay. This doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to pay it, it’s just that there are some strings that leads to our failure not to do it,” he defended.

The undersecretary clarified that some efforts were made to ensure the ministry will pay the remaining dues.

He said the ministry paid some 4 million dollars and the remaining 25 million dollars will be paid.

“So it doesn’t mean that we have totally failed although it is being projected by some who may not be interested in our success,” he said.

Of late some critics in the East African Community said South Sudan should be suspended due to its non-compliance to the EAC Treaty that obligates them to remit their annual contributions.

On the 28th of June this year, Paul Mayom Akech, the Minister of Trade, Industry, and East African Community Affairs told our reporter from Beijing that the East African Community should not suspend Juba over debt, but instead give it more time to remit its dues.

But the undersecretary Kuol said the country has not given itself specific time as to when to pay.

“Once we put our things in order, we will be able to pay anytime from now and there are already efforts to that effect sooner or later we might pay so the process is on,” he said.

“We do not want to give ourselves specific time, except that we asked for patience from our partners to show some understanding with determination that we are going to pay,” he emphasized.

Article 146 of the EAC Treaty says that the summit may suspend a member state from taking part in the activities of the community if it fails to observe and fulfil the fundamental principles and objectives of the treaty, including failure to meet financial commitments within a period of 18 months.

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