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Leaders of EAC officially welcomed South Sudan to the East African Community (File photo)

By Morris Dogga in Beijing

South Sudan government has requested the East African Community (EAC) to shelve its suspension threats over the country’s failure to pay its dues and urges the Bloc to give Juba more time to remit its unpaid annual contribution.

In the recent months, the newest member of the Community has come under pressure as the other five Members threatened to suspend South Sudan over its failure to clear the unpaid annual contributions.

South Sudan became the 6th member after joining the regional body in April 2016. The Country is required to pay $8 million to the EAC as contributions annually.

But since then, South Sudan has not been paying its annual contributions prompting the other EAC member States to issue stern warning for non compliance.

Article 143 of the treaty, however  is not specific on sanctions to be undertaken as it stipulates that “a partner state which defaults in meeting its financial and other obligations under this treaty shall be subject to such action as the summit may on the recommendation of the Council, determine.”

Article 146 of the treaty says the summit may suspend a partner state from taking part in the activities of the bloc if that state fails to observe and fulfill the fundamental principles and objectives of the treaty including failure to meet financial commitments within a period of 18 months

The Minister of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs, Paul Mayom Akec said Juba is committed to meeting its obligations, urging the other member states to go slow on the matter.

“We have plans in place to meet our obligation in the East African Community. Plans demands time, articulation. Others (EAC members) are not patient enough. And we are committed and very certain that we will meet our obligations,” Mayom told Juba Monitor in an interview in China.

“It would not be wise to say since you (South Sudan) has not paid, we will sanction or suspend you….. What I know is that we are going to meet our obligations and we will continue to discharge our responsibilities as a member state that is committed to pursuing the unity of the people of East Africa.”

According to the lawmakers representing Juba at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), South Sudan currently owes the regional parliament $27 million, but Mayom said the Amount was USD 20 million “ which by our standard should not be a big amount.”

Minister Mayom revealed that there were technical issues that were delaying the payment adding that matter is now on the docket of the Ministry of Finance.

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