The government will soon clear the membership fee arrears for the regional economic bloc, the Information Minister has said.
Two weeks ago, lawmakers representing South Sudan at the East African Legislative Assembly or EALA told Eye Radio that they were about to be kicked out of the legislature over government failure to pay its annual contributions.
Since South Sudan joined the East African Community in 2016, the government has not been paying the yearly membership fee which stands at 8.4 million dollars.
According to the lawmakers at the EALA, South Sudan currently owes the regional parliament 27 million dollars.
“Failure to pay according to the East African Community regulations, your membership can be suspended until you pay the arrears and pay your membership as usual. So it happens everywhere. But efforts are underway to pay all the arrears and the new financial year,” Michael Makuei told the press after the weekly cabinet meeting in Juba.
He said South Sudan is not yet suspended from the economic bloc, but has been given a warning for nonpayment of arrears.
Makuei added that part of the 500 million dollar loan the government plans to get from the Afri-Exim Bank will be used to clear the loan and this fiscal year’s fee.
“We have our own financial crisis and our economic situation is not allowing that to happen -and that’s why we are borrowing to pay for some of these [obligations],” he said.
However, some members of the public the other day expressed disappointment, asking what exactly the government spends the petro-dollar on – since its employees go for months without pay and there is no tangible infrastructural development on the ground.