Apart from EAC, South Sudan also owes IGAD, AU affiliation fees

Apart from EAC, South Sudan also owes IGAD, AU affiliation fees

South Sudan has piled up affiliate fees to more than four regional bodies, the Chairperson of the Specialised Committee on Regional Integration has revealed.

The committee revealed on July 20 that Juba owes East African Community (EAC) four years’ arrears amounting to close to $39 million.

“South Sudan has not paid its membership for four years, amounting to a whopping $39 million,” said Dr Ann Itto, the Chair South Sudan Chapter of East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA).

And now, more details have emerged that President Salva Kiir’s administration also owes other international bodies, of which she is a member, money running into millions of dollars.

According to Eche Likai Barri, South Sudan’s chair of the Specialized Committee, the youngest African nation is yet to pay her membership fees to the African Parliamentary Union (APU), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU) among others.

“It is a big problem for the country and it has put our reputation on the line in the sense that we are not fulfilling our financial obligations to regional bodies of which we are members and party too,” Barri was quoted by VOA.

Barri did not reveal how much Juba owes to these bodies.

The AU rule requires each member state to select the appropriate financial institutions or customs authority responsible for the assessment and collection of the AU import levy.

Once the revenue is collected as an AU import levy, it is then deposited into an account opened in the name of the ‘African Union’ with the Central, National or Reserve Bank of each Member State. Once the fiscal authorities give the authorisation such accounts will be opened.

The funds therein are then remitted to a designated bank account of the Union in accordance with each Member State’s assessed contribution. The amount the AU can access from the National Accounts shall however be limited to the assessed contributions for the financial year, according to information from the AU website.

On July 8, EAC Secretary General paid a visit to Juba to try and convince oil-rich South Sudan to meet the end of her bargain.

President Kiir later assured the EAC official of his government’s commitment to settle “all arrears owed to the EAC”, a promise that Barri hopes will be fulfilled.

 “We are hopeful [that] something substantive is going to materialise by the end of next week.

The amount owed to EAC might surpass $47million if it rolls over to next year.

Article 47 empowers the same Summit such that it can expel a Partner State from the community for gross and persistent violation of the principles and objectives of the Treaty after giving such Partner State twelve months’ written notice.

Speaking in Uganda during a two-day induction of MPs, under the parliamentary forums of EAC Affairs, Amanya Mushenga, the former EAC Secretary General called for radical legislations to be put in place to force member countries to play their part.

“There are some member states who have not paid their contributions for over five years and yet [their members] continue to draw salaries and enjoy the benefits.

“I think something should be done. If you join a club, you have to respect rules and regulations,” added Mushenga.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who opened the session last week said, lashed out at any disintegration saying that teething problems like late remittances should be addressed promptly.

 “Many of the actors are not wealth creators. They are wealthy consumers. They don’t know the challenges of wealth creation,” said the Ugandan president.