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EAC threatens to suspend South Sudan over non-payment of arrears

October 6, 2019 (ARUSHA) - The East African Community (EAC) has instituted investigations on why South Sudan should not be suspended from the regional bloc.

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South Sudan’s minister for Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs, Paul (The Niles photo) Mayom Akec

The EAC Council of ministers has directed the secretariat in Arusha to justify why the community should not impose sanctions on the young nation for failing to meet its financial obligations.

The directive reportedly comes at a time when the EAC is facing a financial crisis resulting from some partner state’s failure to pay dues.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s minister for Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs, Paul Mayom has requested the regional bloc to give more time to remit its dues instead of suspending it.

He said although South Sudan has been having financial problems, the young nation is working hard to meet its financial obligations.

“The government of South Sudan has always put plans in place to meet its EAC obligations but all these need time to deliver. We have problems with funding though the matter is now with the Ministry of Finance. Therefore, other EAC members and the Assembly should be patient with us,” Mayom told the East African last week.

He added, “It would not be prudent to say that since you Juba has not paid; we will sanction or suspend you…What I know is that we are going to meet our commitments and continue to discharge our responsibilities as a member state that is devoted to pursuing the

Article 146 of the EAC treaty says that the summit may suspend a member state from taking part in the activities of the community if it fails to observe and fulfill the fundamental principles and objectives of the treaty, including failure to meet financial commitments within a period of 18 months.

Each EAC member state is required to pay $8 million annually.

South Sudan, which joined the bloc on September 5, 2016, has not remitted most of its dues, thus accruing a debt of at least $27 million.

(ST)