Uganda government has written to South Sudan to unconditionally release and return impounded trucks carrying Ugandan maize flour and other cargo.
For the past three weeks, over 60 Ugandan registered trucks transporting maize flour have been held by South Sudan Bureau of Standards in an isolated parking 7kms into South Sudan and on their way to Juba from Nimule.
The trucks are said to have been impounded for allegedly carrying aflatoxin affected maize flour which is not fit for human consumption.
On June 5, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Edith Mwanje wrote to her South Sudanese counterpart suggesting various remedies to solve the crisis.
The Permanent Secretary called on South Sudan to make use of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) Laboratory facility in Gulu that was provided by TradeMark Africa (TMA) in July 2022 to check and confirm that the cargo poses no health threat, and is safe for human consumption.
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Uganda also called on South Sudan to allow the truck drivers to offload the maize flour in a particular designated area and South Sudan Bureau of Standards continues with their investigation into the quality of the maize flour.
Uganda further called on its neighbour to release both the trucks and drivers to come back to Uganda for other businesses.
However, South Sudan turned a deaf ear, and never responded to Uganda’s requests.
This has prompted the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga to write directly to her South Sudanese counterpart, Deng Alor Kuol to unconditionally release all the trucks with their cargo and allow them back to Uganda.
“Having not received any positive response to the above correspondence, it is now my considered opinion that you unconditionally release the vehicles containing all cargo and allow them free passage back into Uganda,” reads Kadaga’s letter to her South Sudanese counterpart.
Meanwhile, there has been reports that between May 15, 2023 to date, the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards has also been impounding trucks loaded with wheat flour, sorghum and other grain products on allegations of failing to pass the test for contamination with aflatoxin.