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UN confirms Sudan’s delinquent status, arrears reach $1 million

January 4, 2013 (WASHINGTON) – The United Nations on Friday revealed that Sudan is several years behind on its payments and owes close to $1 million, which has yet to be paid.

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United Nations spokesman Martin Nesirky (UN Photo)

This week the UN Committee On Contributions released the list of nations which has paid in full its financial obligations to the world body’s 2012 regular budget.

The "UN honour roll" which was updated on December 31 excluded Sudan, indicating that the East African nation’s share remains outstanding.

According to a UN General Secretariat Sudan has been assessed to pay 0.010% of the UN regular budget in 2012 which amounts to $236,317.

But on Thursday the Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman vehemently denied that his government is behind on its dues saying that they paid their 2012 dues in full.

Osman added that the finance ministry is readying to disburse the 2013 dues for payment this year.

But the spokesperson to the UN Secretary General, Martin Nesirky, on Friday contradicted Osman’s assertions and disclosed that Sudan’s voting rights were briefly suspended this year because of the financial arrears.

"At the start of 2012, Sudan was in arrears under the terms of Article 19 of the Charter (loss of vote in the General Assembly)" Nesirky wrote in an email to an Innercitypress UN reporter.

Under Article 19 of the UN charter "a member State in arrears in the payment of its dues in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose its vote in the General Assembly".

"However, sufficient payment was made in 2012 to take Sudan out of Article 19. As of 4 January 2013, Sudan has arrears (amounts due for 2012 and previous years) of approximately $1 million," Nesirky added.

It is not clear why the UN and Sudan are offering conflicting accounts on the outstanding dues.

An analysis done by Sudan Tribune based on UN reports showed that Sudan’s dues were $243,642 in 2009; $210,822 in 2010 and $234,869 in 2011. This in addition to 2012 dues would add up to $925,650.

In 2010 Sudan’s arrears totaled $480,117 but a payment of $480,755 was applied to it leaving only the year’s dues of $210,822 outstanding. The status of Sudan’s 2011 dues has not been released.

Sudan is expected to pay $254,828 for the year 2013.

According to the UN committee on contributions, the UN expenses are split among members "broadly according to capacity to pay".

Sudan is in the midst of an economic crisis resulting from South Sudan’s independence in July 2011. The newborn nation contained 75% of the oil wealth that existed under the formerly-united country.

South Sudan’s oil represented more than a third of Khartoum’s revenues and its largest source of hard currency, leaving the government struggling for alternatives since the independence.

Inflation has accelerated to 46 percent in November, and the Sudanese pound has plunged on the black market where it now fetches around 7.00 Sudanese pounds (SDG) for one dollar, compared to an official rate of 4.4 per dollar.

The government, in June, devalued the official foreign exchange rate as part of measures to compensate for the loss of South Sudanese oil.

It also raised taxes, allocated more funds for social spending and increased the pump prices of fuel by about 50 percent to reduce petroleum subsidies.