Parliament has directed the Ministry of Finance to immediately pay the Ugandan traders who lost their properties in South Sudan in spite of the Cabinet’s decision to halt the process.
On Wednesday, the finance minister Matia Kasaija informed parliament that cabinet had ordered a halt to these payments because it wanted a re-verification of all Ugandans who claimed to have lost property in South Sudan.
Kasaija’s clarification followed a threat by parliament chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga that the house would not handle the finance ministry business until all traders who lost property in South Sudan were paid.
Parliament had approved a government request of 76 billion shillings to pay the affected traders.
In the Wednesday meeting before parliament, Kasaija defended the delay by saying that cabinet had discovered that there were some ineligible claimants who had been smuggled onto the list of affected traders.
Kasaija also revealed that government is financially hard up which is why at least 700 administrative units have not been operationalized. He further revealed that the government owes Ugandan traders three trillion shillings in domestic arrears.
But the legislators did not buy into Kasaija’s explanations dismissing his argument as a trick to delay payment.
The legislators insisted that government pay all the traders to enable them to get back on their feet and run their businesses.