Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko has accused the Ministry of Finance of selective treatment and unfairness in the compensation process for traders who supplied in South Sudan or lost goods following the civil war.
Nsereko made the call for equity and fairness to MPs on the Parliamentary select-committee chaired by Kyankwanzi Woman MP, Ann Maria Nankabirwa that was set up last week by the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga to investigate the compensation process.
The government of Uganda in 2010 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of South Sudan under which Uganda would compensate traders who lost property or were not paid as a result of the civil war that broke out in South Sudan.
The funds would however be considered as a loan to the south sudanese government.
However, since then only 10 companies have benefited from compensation funds that amount to USD 56m.
Nsereko who moved the motion for the constitution of a probe committee on Wednesday, appeared with a team of five traders who claim they were sidelined in two phases of compensation.
“The 10 companies that appeared in the MOU of 2010 and were paid before are the same that the Ministry has cleared for payment, this is the highest level of unfairness since there are other companies that the Ministry has not considered,” Nsereko told the committee.
Last month, the Minister of Finance, Matia Kasaija told legislators that government had in another phase approved payment of Shs 40bn to 10 companies. This revelation left legislators dissatisfied since these are the very companies that benefited from the earlier payment.
Appearing before the committee, the Director of Gash Logistics Limited, Ibrahim Hasan told legislators that todate, he still demands a total of USD 5.43m but his name did not appear on the list of those to be compensated.
“My company was among those verified by the government of South Sudan and Uganda through the Ministry of Finance but my name didn’t appear on the lost of 33 companies that were approved for payment by Parliament,” Hasan Ibrahim said.
He noted that he worked in South Sudan supplying food stuffs to the Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) since 2012 and he was last paid in 2015.
The committee will continue to interface with a number of stakeholders including officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade as well as all traders that were affected.
The Speaker gave the committee 45 days to investigate and report back to the House. The probe will thus be used to determine the beneficiaries some of whom had never benefited from government compensation.