‘Customs Exemptions’ Affect South Sudan’s Revenue

The Director General of South Sudan Customs Service, Frederick Lokule told the media last Saturday that the government is losing millions of South Sudanese Pounds over what he termed as “customs exemption” of goods.

By Juma John Stephen
JUBA, 13th March 2012 [Gurtong]

“All those who are operating here should not get exemptions but should get concessions. All those agreements that we signed between South Sudan and other companies indicate “exempted hundred per cent. This is wrong, it should be concession,” Lokule explained.

“On the 15th and 16th of February, I randomly picked certain declarations which were exempted and complied the data on the exemption; the results was loss of revenue amounting to 40 million South Sudanese Pounds (SSP). This is able to pay the army for one month and nobody can dispute that,” he said.

Lokule argued that customs exemptions are suppose to be given to international organizations like United Nations, diplomatic missions, diplomatic cargoes, humanitarian NGOs among others.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in the government of South Sudan, Dr. Mr. Marial Awou said that third party companies contracted by the government should pay taxes because the company is working for a profit.

He said that only government institutions should be exempted and called for political will from the government to solve most of the cases facing the customs services.

“There are a lot of loopholes in this area of customs exemptions and nobody is certain whether all the exemptions that flow to Nimule, to Kaya originate from the Ministry of Finance or not. There might be somebody somewhere who is faking all these and sending to the border,” Awou continued.

“In Nimule we are going to build a compound for customs that will include banks, taxation points and others. We are signing agreements with a number of commercial banks so that they can collect money on behalf of the government and very soon you will hear that no taxation officer will handle the money,” he expounded.

The two government officials were speaking at Juba International Airport during a ceremony for opening the customs offices.

“The public is now informed that those who transport their goods via air will no longer go to the customs head office for clearance. All goods will from now be stored in a warehouse here in the airport awaiting clearance,” he declared.

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