KAMPALA – Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija on Wednesday explained to Parliament the delayed compensation of Ugandan traders who made losses in South Sudan during the civil war between 2013 and 2015.
Last Thursday, June 25, 2020, Parliament summoned Mr Kasaija to explain why, despite allocating Shs76b for the compensation in the 2019/2020 financial year, it was not effected.
On Thursday, the minister explained that the South Sudan traders are under 2 categories. Category one is comprised of 10 companies which were verified and whose outstanding claim is USD 31 million. They have so far received 40 billion and have since gone to Court demanding their payment and interest.
The second category consists of 160 claimants demanding 1.535 trillion.When these traders were subjected to a verification, only three traders whose claim was 25.7 billion were found to be valid. Cabinet is yet to make a decision on the fate of this category.
Kasaija said although Parliament had appropriated 76 billion to compensate these traders,it has not been possible because of the current financial constraints and heavy expenditure demands such as the 700 administrative units which require 112 billion.
He said even key activities central to the economic development strategy have been deferred because of financial constraints.
Kasaija said government is however,committed to compensating the traders when resources become available,adding that only valid and authentic traders will be compensated.
Last week, Bugabula South MP Maurice Kibalya told Parliament that the delay is caused by a power conflict at the ministry on who should and should not be paid.
Mr Kibalya said that the power play is rooted from a conflict of interest where high ranking officials at the ministry are among the beneficiaries.
“Madam Speaker we need to save this nation, I think it is high time we stopped playing games here,” he said.
Mr Kibalya added, “We have information that between the ministers, there is a battle. They have refused to pay because some of them are beneficiaries and they don’t want others to benefit.”