South Sudan has paid $2 million to the East African Community (EAC) as its membership contribution to the bloc’s budget in late February.
A lawmaker revealed the news to a radio show in Juba on Thursday, 7 March 2019. The country is required to pay $8 million to the EAC as annual contribution.
Africa’s youngest nation became the sixth member of the EAC after joining the regional grouping in April 2016.
Kim Gai Ruot, an MP representing the country at the East African parliament, said the government paid the money in arrears.
He pointed out that his country has been failing to pay its yearly subscription fees fully for two years resulting in it owing a total of $15 million to the EAC.
“The government of South Sudan paid $1 million last year. The total contribution of South Sudan to the East African Community represents 24 percent,” he explained.
Kim further said South Sudan government’s delay in contributing to the East African Community budget denied the country some of the benefits that go with regular contributions.
“There are sanctions if you failed to remit contributions. A member state is expected to pay its contribution within 18 months, so if you don’t pay, your membership can be suspended by the bloc,” he explained.
“Now we don’t have South Sudanese employees at the East African Community parliament, we have MPs only. But if you pay your contributions, you can have some employees there. Also, the secretariat has posts that can be filled by South Sudanese,” he said.
However, the MP said South Sudan is still enjoying economic benefits the regional bloc is offering.
South Sudan’s cash-strapped government has also been struggling to pay for the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement, citing a lack of money and calling on donors for support.
In September last year, President Salva Kiir and several opposition leaders, including Riek Machar, signed a power-sharing deal promising an end to the civil war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.