Juba hotel debts remain unpaid by NTC
In a letter sent by the Hotel and Catering Association of South Sudan (HCASS) to the National Transitional Committee (NTC), it is alleged that the government has still not yet paid a number of Juba hotels for almost 2 years of accommodation debts.
The letter follows an original demand for payment sent in early January, which claimed the Juba government owed over $10mil in arrears to a number of high end hotels in the capital. Originally signed by 9 hotels, the number of signatories demanding payment has grown to 18 following the letter in January.
The HCASS claim they have repeatedly visited and contacted the NTC's offices seeking answers to the question of payment without success.
'For innumerable times, we tirelessly have knocked the doors of authorities in charge of this and the response we always got was: "We will pay you tomorrow, next week", and this is the reoccurring reply from officials', it's said.
Citing the urgent need for the hotels to pay staff, settle bills and cover operational costs, the HCASS gave the government until the end of today to pay their invoices.
'Majority of our member hotels are struggling to cope with the current financial distress, and we are not able to cover even our daily operational costs', the HCASS note.
If the government's debts are not met, the HCASS have said it is likely many of the hotels signing the letter could face closure.
'If many hotels get closed as a result of the financial problem; it obviously is going to result in...social and economic problems to the employees and their families. This critical situations can result in lack of significant numbers of world class hotels to accommodate clients arriving to Juba...such as heads of states, diplomats'.
The hotels included in the letter are of international standard, and are typically used to house government officials and visiting guests. At present, it is estimated that 300-400 officials are currently staying at hotels in the capital. Some of these can cost up to $200 per night.