National, News

South Sudan-Uganda trade normal despite standoff

By Bida Elly David

South Sudan-Uganda cross-border disagreement over impounded trucks of toxic goods has not affected trading activities between the two countries despite a looming stalemate.

An article published on one of Uganda’s newspapers alleged that truck drivers and importers had refused in protest to cross the Nimule town with food destined for Juba.

The truckers had allegedly started a sit-down strike at Uganda’s Elegu border post, protesting impoundment of 63 trucks by South Sudan Bureau of Standards for failing to pass food safety test.

Ugandan importers and truck drivers had recently also issued an ultimatum that passed with Juba paying no attention.

However, Deng Daniel Ayuen Deng Ayuen, the chairperson of Clearing and forwarding association, while speaking on Friday to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, disputed the Uganda media reports.

He said that there has been no strike of any kind by the truckers in Elegu, despite the fact that the impounded Uganda trucks are on standby.

“The business is as usual, and those impounded trucks have not yet been released. The screening and laboratory tests are still ongoing, and if the results show danger, they may not be released,” he said.

Deng said that a committee comprising technical members from South Sudan and Uganda has been constituted to investigate the matter before the impounded goods are destroyed.

He did not, however, clarify when the impounded goods would be destroyed, and the trucks released back to their owners.

“The strike has not yet started, work is normal. There is a committee coming from Juba and Uganda, and there will be a stakeholder’s meeting tomorrow, (Saturday) and we shall see from there,” he said.

The officer said the deadline given to South Sudan government by the Ugandan importers to release the trucks has already elapsed, noting that the findings from the committee will determine the future.

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