Gov’t owes over USD27 million debt to regional blocs

Changkuoth Bichiock Reth, the chairperson Standing Specialized Committee on Finance and Economic Planning at the R-TNLA (File/Photo: Philip Buda Ladu)

By Taban Henry

South Sudan has an outstanding arrears amounting to over 27 million United States Dollars membership fees that the Country is obliged to pay to the four regional blocs it subscribes to including the East Africa Community (EAC), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Northern Corridor  and the Great Lakes Region.

This was disclosed during the presentation of the Report of the Standing Specialized Committee on Finance and Economic Planning on the Fiscal Year 2022/2023 budget of the Republic of South Sudan in its second reading stage.

Earlier last month, the Speaker of the Transitional National Legislature Jemma Nunu Kumba committed the fiscal year draft budget to the committee of Finance and Economic Planning of the Legislature.

Speaking during the presentation of the draft budget in its second reading, Changkuoth Bichiock Reth the chairperson for the standing Specialized Committee on Finance and Economic Planning said South Sudan has an outstanding arrears of 15,000,000 USD owed to East African Community for membership; 83,000 to the Northern Corridor, 12,000,000 to IGAD and USD 600,000 to the Great Lakes Region totaling to USD 27,683,000.

“There are unpaid arrears of SSP 138,740,684 to the Ministry of East Africa Affairs for goods and services that should be paid from the consolidated account. The budget of the Ministry of EAC reflects an increment of staff salaries and wages of the ministry,” he said.

Bichiock added that the finance committee in parliament recommended that the capacity building of the personnel and development of the institution should be separated as each unit has its own objectives and personnel capacity development citing that planning and research should separate from administration and finance.

“The sensitization of the EAC policies should be compatible with the domestic policies to the citizens besides our national policies. The committee emphasized and recommended exchange visit of the senior staff to the member states for benchmarking and exposure within the region on the integration system,” he stated.

The chairperson Standing Specialized Committee for Finance and Economic Planning allocation said the country owes USD 1,766,000 to the northern corridor.

He added that the failure to pay the loans is an embarrassment to South Sudanese as it tarnishes the image of the Country.

However the Governance Cluster in its weekly meeting chaired by the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar disclosed on Wednesday that the Government has cleared the 15 million US dollars membership arrears South Sudan owed to the East African Community (EAC) regional bloc.

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