EAC demands over $30m from South Sudan

EAC demands over $30m from South Sudan
Gideon Gatpan Thoar, South Sudan’s representative at the EALA (photo credit: courtesy)

Members of Parliament at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) said South Sudan owes the East African Community over $30 million membership arrears.

Gideon Gatpan Thoar, a lawmaker representing South Sudan at the EALA said the country was yet to clear its accumulated arrears.

“I think now the outstanding figure must be more than 30 million dollars [and] this is the accumulation over the years. Since we have joined the East African Community we have not been paying a hundred percent for yearly contribution,” said Mr. Thoar.

He was speaking to City Review in an exclusive interview on Friday.

However, the lawmaker said South Sudan was committed to paying part of the arrears to meet its obligation in terms of payment of remittance to the EAC.

 “So we are talking of accumulated amount which is not for this year alone but when a country pays, it equates it to the arrears,” he said.

“It can continue until at a time when the country is somehow better with the finances [and] can pay it all or [can commit] to paying some of the amounts [by giving] a break down on how to pay [ in installments],” Thoar explained.

Previously, the yearly membership contribution to the EAC was $8 million but recently it has been reduced to $7.5 million per year, according to Thoar.

“So South Sudan has a plan how to pay the money and that is what the community needs,” he added.

Challenges with delayed remittance

Member of Parliament representing Kenya to the EALA Abdikadir Omar Aden said the delay by the Member States to pay their membership fees to the committee was hindering the implementation of the projects meant to develop the region.

Omar said some partner states have been very late or often delay very much to pay their contribution, saying South Sudan has been one of them.

“The problem is still there and it is not only South Sudan. There are a number of other partner states that delay, [and] even those partner states that pay delay some times in making the payment come through,” Omar said.

“Payments are meant for the financial year and if a partner state delays to pay for a financial year even if it pays the next financial year, already projects which were supposed to happen for that financial year have failed so for that reason we still have that problem,’’ he said.

Omar said there was a commitment from the Juba administration to settle the outstanding arrears to ensure prompt adherence to the requirements of the bloc.

 “We have also heard from the speech of the president that the regional cooperation and organizations need to be paid when he was [addressing] the assembly,” he assured.

South Sudan is among the member states of the East African Committee that have not cleared its outstanding membership fee.

However, during the inaugural ceremony of members of parliament last month, President Salva Kiir directed the ministry of finance to pay the membership fees to all regional cooperations and organizations.

A week ago, Kiir reiterated the same statement during the swearing-in of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mayiik Ayii.

Last year, the African Union suspended South Sudan from the continental body after Juba failed to pay its annual contributions amounting to over $ 9 million U.S. dollars last year in February.

South Sudan’s mission to Ethiopia immediately wrote to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to form its government-sanctioned to the block after it failed to pay its financial contributions for three consecutive years.

Early this year, the country was signaled for failing to pay the membership fee to the United Nations, to which participation in the General Assembly was suspended. But the government rubbished the reports of failing to adhere to UN requirements as untrue.