21st April 2021
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South Sudan wires over $1million of unpaid arrears to EAC account

Author: Okot Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, April 1, 2021

South Sudan Central Bank Governor Dier Tong addresses the media in Juba on Thursday, April 1, 2021 | Credit| Joakino Francis/Eye Radio

The government has finally confirmed the remittance of $1.5 million –as back payment –owed to the East African Community.

This was affirmed by the South Sudan Central Bank and an official at the Ministry of Trade.

“We sent the swift based on the recommendation from the Finance Ministry and the money had been paid to KCB Tanzania to the account of the East African Community,” the Central Bank disclosed.

At one point last year, the country had not paid over $28 million to the regional economic bloc.

But in February, President Salva Kiir told his counterparts during the EAC Heads of State Summit that his administration had remitted $1.5 million as part of $8.4 million.

He promised that the rest shall be fully paid before the end of this year.

But earlier this week, a lawmaker at the East African Parliament said a check of $1.5 million sent by South Sudan to the region’s account bounced.

The MP described it as a “rubber check” sent to the Secretariat of the East African Community.

When asked, the Central Bank Governor Dier Tong refuted the claims.

“We don’t make international payments by cheque. We don’t write cheques to East African community or to any payment we are making abroad, we write swift,” he clarified.

“I check it myself and I know this money has hit the account of the East African Community [so] that information was completely fault, it was not based on any facts.”

In July last year, the East African Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to expel and suspend South Sudan and Burundi for defaulting on their yearly payments.

But South Sudan asked for more time, citing financial difficulties caused by years of civil war and economic collapse.

The undersecretary at the Ministry of East African Affairs, Andrea Aguer Ariik said the money was finally wired in March.

“On March 17, 2021 they, EAC Secretariat, acknowledged in a letter written to me in my name and attached a receipt number 0039 –that they received this money,” Aguer affirmed. “We have the documentation with us.”

In February, President Kiir appealed to the East African Community to restructure the amount South Sudan owes it.

All member countries are required to pay $8 million annually.

But last year, South Sudan and Burundi were singled out by the bloc for defaulting their obligations.

Kiir asked for a suitable formula for installment repayment over an agreed period to allow South Sudan to clear the remaining arrears.

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