Ugandan traders in South Sudan petition MuseveniBy NICHOLAS KALUNGI | Friday, June 29 2012 at 14:31
Ugandan traders in South Sudan under their umbrella organisation, Uganda Traders’ Association of South Sudan have petitioned President Museveni over delayed compensation for loss of business in the country amounting to about $59 million.
In a letter dated June 27, 2012, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, the association said while the government has worked hard to address issues of traders’ safety in South Sudan, not much has been done in regard to their compensation of Shs144 billion from trade disputes and claims, which occurred between 2005 and 2009.
“Traders’ grievances on trade claims and compensation remain one of the sticky issues that is yet to be addressed comprehensively,” the letter reads in part.
Controversial and uncertain
“The compensation’, according to the letter signed by Mr Patrick Ntege Walusimbi, the association’s chairman added, ‘has taken long, remained controversial and uncertain.”
However, in a telephone interview, Ms Mary Karooro Okurut, the government spokesperson said she had not seen the letter but advised the traders to channel all their queries to the Trade ministry.
“Mr President, the members of this association are requesting for your direct interventions in this crucial matter at the strategic level. This is because our cases and claims have been regarded as isolated, minor and some time as rumours by government officials.”
Your Excellency, it hurts to be a victim and it is unfair, bad leadership practice to undermine the will and feelings of your own citizens when concrete evidence is provided,” the letter reads.
However, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, the Trade minister, advised traders to hold up to around mid-July when meetings shall be conducted to to address the compensation issue and such other unsettled matters.
“It is not an issue that I can resolve myself. Different departments from both Uganda and South Sudan are involved. We shall meet between July 18 and 19 and one of the issues to be discussed is the compensation. Aggrieved traders should wait for the resolutions.”
The money in question is said to have accumulated from 2005, after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the SPLM and the government of Sudan that brought relative stability, which saw many Ugandans seize the opportunity to do business in the country.
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