South Sudan stands on shaky grounds in the EAC over $15m indebtedness

As part of the pledge signed by being a member of the East African Community, EAC, members are expected to pay a yearly sum to the East African Assembly as a contribution to bloc. Unfortunately, South Sudan has not been able to fulfill its part of the bargain.

East African Community is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1967 with 6-member states along the African Great Lakes of Eastern Africa; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

South Sudan applied to be a member of the EAC after its independence in 2011 but was granted the official status as the 6th regional bloc member in 2016.

To fund activities of the bloc and pay salaries of the 9 elected parliamentarians assigned to the parliamentary bloc, each partner state is expected to pay to contribute $8.3 million. However, countries like South Sudan and Burundi have been failing to make their obligatory remittances.

The yearly contribution owed by South Sudan amount to a total of $15 million; about $7 million for the 2016/2017 financial year and $8 million for the current 2017/2018 budget.

Failure to pay its remittance might attract sanctions from partner states and South Sudan might be denied various benefits it gains from the EAC, commented Dr. Alic.

Speaking on the delay, Mou Mou Athian, undersecretary in the ministry of trade, industry and African affairs said the country’s integrity is at stake. “This delay payment of membership contribution puts our nations integrity at stake. South Sudan made a voluntary commitment to become members of the East African Community, and must abide by its promise”.

Recently a proposal to increase the 2017/2018 financial budget from $101.4 million to $113.8 million was submitted by the bloc secretary general, General Ambassador Libérat Mfumukeko regardless of the economic situation facing all partner states.

Over the years South Sudan has been experiencing challenges, one of which is the conflict that began in 2013 between the government of President Salva Kiir and rebels, leading to the death of thousands and the displacement of about 4 million. This has so far left the country cash trapped.