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Traders count losses following days of heavy clashes in Juba

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By ISMAIL MUSA LADU

Posted  Thursday, December 19  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

His truck is loaded with goods worth Shs15 million from which he earns an allowance for transporting goods to the now troubled country.

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Kampala-Mr Rogers Ngombi, a truck driver has for three days been lying idle inside his vehicle grounded at Arua Park, as clashes in South Sudan continue to ravel.

Mr Ngobi is not in isolation, just like him, a number of businessmen have voiced sentiments praying that the clashes do not drag on.
His truck is loaded with goods worth Shs15 million from which he earns an allowance for transporting goods to the now troubled country.

However, clashes between rival South Sudan army factions loyal to President Salva Kiir and a yet to be known faction but suspected to be loyal to former deputy Riek Machar, have brought business to a halt until the situation in the world’s youngest country is normalised.
Just across, the same street, Baby Coach, one of the buses plying the Kampala – South Sudan route is struggling to book passengers who are intent that the country is now a war zone.

Businesses at risk
Apparently the management of the transport company is already worried that it could default on its loan re-payment for this month, something that is bound to attract heavy penalty in form of increased interest rates.
Mr Ezra Katende, the Baby Coach general manager, told the Daily Monitor that within days the company has lost in the excess of Shs20 million.

The same story is retold by the other bus companies that ply the route. Similarly truck owners are failing to load their vehicles with goods as business people reluctantly study the goings on in the country.

Uganda is believed to have already lost Shs3 billion in revenue ever since the clashes started, according to Association of Ugandan traders in South Sudan and Kampala City Traders Association said.

The government could not verify the figures but has issued caution, restricting Ugandans, whose number in South Sudan is unknown, from engaging in trade with the neighbouring country until the security is guaranteed.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com