South Sudan faces the risk of having its membership of the East African Community (EAC) suspended over delay in remitting its share of contributions, a lawmaker said.
Last week, the East African parliament decided to impose sanctions on the EAC member states that have contributed little to the bloc.
The final resolution for sanctions against South Sudan will be passed by the EAC Heads of State at a summit scheduled to take place in November.
All member countries are required to pay $8 million to the EAC as contributions annually. South Sudan became the 6th member after joining the regional body in 2016.
Kim Gai Ruot, a South Sudanese representative to the East African Legislative Assembly, told Radio Tamazuj on Friday that the government has defaulted to pay its dues to the East African Community, saying South Sudan has remitted 3 million USD only.
South Sudan owes the community a total of $27 million being this year’s financial obligations plus arrears, according to Kim.
The lawmaker said the EAC leaders will consider invoking Article 143 or 146 to impose sanctions on South Sudan for its default on payment, pointing out that the youngest nation is being urged to comply by end of October.
“If South Sudan fails to pay its financial commitments by the end of this month, when the heads of state meet in November, they may decide to impose sanctions on us,” he said.
“Sanctions, if imposed, will affect the market in South Sudan and our students who are currently studying in East African countries,” he added.
Article 143 of the treaty is however not specific on sanctions to be undertaken as it stipulates that “a partner state which defaults in meeting its financial and other obligations under this treaty shall be subject to such action as the summit may on the recommendation of the Council, determine.”
Article 146 of the treaty says the summit may suspend a partner state from taking part in the activities of the bloc if that state fails to observe and fulfil the fundamental principles and objectives of the treaty including failure to meet financial commitments within a period of 18 months.
Kim urged the national minister of finance to remit South Sudan’s dues this month.
“The problem is not because South Sudan does not have enough money. The minister of finance was directed by the president to pay our financial obligations to the EAC, but the minister failed to do so,” he said.