By Adia Jildo
South Sudan representatives in the East African Legislative assembly have expressed concerns over unpaid membership fee to the regional body.
South Sudan’s EALA members are now calling on their government to clear the pending dues for an efficient EAC.
The government of South Sudan has not been paying its membership fee to the East African Community for the past 4 years.
The chairperson South Sudan Chamber of East African Legislators Dr. Anne Itto Leonardo told the media after a brief meeting with the SPLM Secretary for Foreign Relation, Bol Makueng that an amount of 8.4 million US dollars per annum was to be paid to facilitate operations at the East African Legislative Assembly.
“Four more years have not been covered excluding the fiscal year 2022-2023, we owe about 39 million United States dollars to the East African Community,” she continued. “At some point, we have not been paying our membership and that deny us a lot of benefits, our participation in the processes of integration has been weak because it’s either we have no money or people do not appreciate it enough,” Dr. Itto stressed.
She said the non-payment of membership fees by South Sudan has put a deficit to the budget of the East African community which is based on the East African Countries’ contribution.
“As membership contribution, each member State is expected to pay eight million, four hundred thousand United states dollars and this money goes to cover not only the payment of salaries and activities of the parliament but we have a huge secretariat and ten other institutions of the East African Community”.
Dr. Itto said failure to clear the fee has left many of them to miss out important discussions, decisions and negotiations.
Bol Makueng the SPLM Secretary for Foreign Relations said the fact that South Sudan joined the East African community, its participation is a part of the SPLA policy objective of Pan-Africanism.
He said failure to pay the membership fee is due to financial and economic crisis in the country.
“South Sudan is going through certain financial and economic difficulties but each time we get money we fulfill our obligation,” Makueng said.
“For us to achieve the African agenda for 2063, we must be there and the people who are knowledgeable must be there,” he said.
The current five-year term of the East African Legislative Assembly is left with six months before another election is conducted.