South Sudan

EXCLUSIVE: Uganda, South Sudan Agree on Shs 140Bn Loan Swap

Minister David Bahati

The governments of Uganda and South Sudan have agreed on an unprecedented debt swap arrangement of USD41m (Shs139bn) to compensate Ugandan traders who lost goods and money in the fragile northern neighbor.

ChimpReports has exclusively learned that this past Saturday, order the ministers of state for Foreign Affairs, see Henry Okello-Oryem and Finance, find David Bahati flew from Entebbe (Uganda) to South Sudanese capital Juba where the deal was negotiated with counterparts there.

According to a source who attended the Juba meeting, it was agreed that in the next financial year of 2017/2017, Uganda is going to provide South Sudan with the verified figure of USD41m.

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The government of President Salva Kiir is to use the money to pay Ugandan traders and the fund shall be reimbursed to Uganda government when the neighbor is stabilized and in better position to do so.

“The Finance and Foreign Affairs Ministers of the two countries zeroed on USD41m as the acceptable and authentic figure. Uganda is to release the money in middle of next year,” a source in Juba told this reporter.

When contacted, Okello-Oryem confirmed the development saying they agreed in principle and that the agreement will be finally signed in Kampala.

“It’s true we were in Juba on Saturday and agreed in principle to do a debt swap with the government of South Sudan. The final signing is going to be done by Finance Ministers soon,” he said on phone on Tuesday.

The move is a big step forward in relieving the traders of financial stress that has seen many lose their property worth billions of shillings to commercial banks.

Ugandan traders have been demanding payment from the South Sudan government since early 2014.

The Cabinet sitting of October 3, chaired by President Museveni formed a sub ministerial committee comprising of Attorney General and officials from Ministries Finance, Trade and Industries and Foreign Affairs to handle the matter.

The same sitting directed ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs to develop modalities of payment with the Government of South Sudan.


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