Contractors threaten to meet President Kiir over unpaid dues

By Adia Jildo

A group of business contractors are threatening to meet the President over their unpaid dues. The group said that they have been supplying food items and services to armies and others to cantonment sites without immediate pay.

The group are asking the government to pay over 100 million US dollars for the services they provided to the army.

The Secretary General of the vendors, Kasha Majok said that they supplied food and services to the cantonment sites said the government had been procrastinating every fortnight till they were weary to wait any longer.

“We are going to look for the President if we don’t get any information. If there is any way to look for the President then we shall try and look for him. Since the beginning of the year, we have been engaging the security advisor of the government on the issue of the payment,” he said.

Majok said it has been four years since they supplied and gave services to uniform men in cantonment sites. He said that some of the services offered were food items, vehicle services, hotel services, and medicines among others.  

Mr. Majok said that about 10 contractors have been arrested for failure to pay suppliers money, adding that others are risking their properties.

The contractors said the government has paid deaf ears even when they used diplomatic approach to get their issues to the table stating that no fruits have yielded from their talk.

Majok said they were only trying to get what rightfully belonged to them and their suppliers.

He said several of his fellow contractors are being arrested and put in jail for failure to pay suppliers.

Another contractor, Ardisham Omar, the women representative supplying food items said they are tired since 2019-2022 appealing to the government to pay them, but every time they visit government officials, they can tell them “we shall pay”.

The woman said they visited the Office of the Security Advisory Tut Gatluak several times and his promises were all in vain.

She said that they were promised, but datelines were broken several times. She said they had reported to the Presidential Advisory stating that their colleagues were in prison and he made a promise to give them the money.

“We don’t know how we shall get this money because there are people who are so tired and in need of their money,” she said.

Ardisham said she was also arrested by the suppliers for failing to pay the dues where her colleague had to give a land document to the suppliers to be released.

She urged that the government listens to their cry as several others are still in custody and their offices have been closed.

Angelo Moses questioned the government on whether their relentless efforts to bring services to the government will pay.

“I don’t know if the government knows that they have civilians or not. This thing has affected me badly. We have responsibilities to carry on,” he said.

He said they agreed with suppliers to supply and the government would later pay after two weeks according to their agreement. He urged the government to take traders, suppliers and contractors seriously since they were able to supply the government when they needed.

“We have been put in prison as if we are criminals. It’s because we don’t have energy that is why we cannot put them in prison,” Angelo said.

The Chairperson of the vendors committee, Dak Panyang urged the government to recall their support in the effort of bringing peace, a contribution that needed to be rewarded.

“We need to ask the government because we are tired of waiting. Is the government aware and do they know our struggle, are they ready to pay us?” he asked.

He said their patience have gone fated and could no longer wait.

He stated that their efforts were a step to enable peace come into the country.

“We as the traders, we have our children who want to go to school for a better future, we have other things to help our families,” he said.

 “We took food items to the cantonment sites and today, we have come to the government to ask again for our payment” he said.

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