South Sudan failed to clear medical and fuel bills incurred by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), contrary to the agreement signed with the government of Uganda.
The UPDF went into South Sudan for peace-keeping purposes following the outbreak of violence and war in November 2013. This followed President Salvar Kiir sacking his Vice President Dr. Riek Machar.
The Parliament sitting on Wednesday April 6, 2016 approved the payment amounting to UShs 3.2b, part of a supplementary budget, contrary to the Agreement signed between the governments of South Sudan and Uganda.
Parliament was recalled from suspension to consider two motions for supplementary funding for the financial years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.
Parliament was also meant to consider and approve five finance bills – the Stamp Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016; Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill; Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2016; and Finance Bill, 2016, intended to make alterations in taxes in the national budget.
The Chairperson of the Budget Committee, Hon. Amos Lugoloobi (NRM, Ntenjeru North), who presented the Committee Report, said that “whereas the government of South Sudan was liable, this money was not readily available from them to pay the medical bills and fuel for soldiers who were already deployed in the field.”
The Opposition Chief Whip, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal (FDC, Dokolo district), demanded that government of Uganda provides evidence that South Sudan did not pay its dues to the UPDF.
She said that it was necessary for Parliament to establish whether the money qualified as classified expenditure, and if it was due to be paid to individual soldiers or the UPDF as an institution.
“I feel very emotional about Ugandan soldiers who were in South Sudan; we want evidence that South Sudan did not pay such that Parliament can help out,” Hon. Ogwal said.
Hon. Stephen Mukitale (NRM, Buliisa) recommended that South Sudan pays Uganda according to the Agreement considering that Uganda has been forced to pay Tanzania for its help in ousting Idi Amin in 1979.
Parliament approved the Budget Committee Report asking government to recover the money as a war debt from South Sudan government.
The UPDF was withdrawn from South Sudan in October last year.