Sep 21, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — South Sudan president Salva Kiir calls for more restrictions on tax exemptions on imports as the world’s youngest nation plans to diversify its non-oil revenues to safe its economy from collapsing.
Senior politicians and generals who are running major businesses and construction projects such as those of Maj Gen. Bol Mel, who are running multi-billion dollar road projects, have reportedly been bypassing the custom authorities by evading tax payment on imports.
Speaking during a swearing in ceremony of the newly appointed finance and revenue officials, President Kiir hints that more restrictions should be imposed to prevent such malpractices.
“Now there is an issue of exemptions. Many people have companies and these companies bring all sorts of goods and owners of the companies including very senior people in the government either ministers or whatever they are, they bring goods and ask to be exempted. This is not possible,” President Kiir said.
With how the non-oil revenues are collected, president Kiir believes that there is a mindset among the officials, whom he appoints into such positions, that custom revenues belong to the individuals who collect them.
“Our problem is that the non-oil revenues are considered to be private by those who collect them,” Kiir said on Friday.
Kiir believes that these officials who work at the border and checkpoints do not see how these money belongs to the treasury of the government leaving doubts on who should be blamed.
“That they don’t go to the treasury of the government. That is our tragedy. But if we were collecting this money in good faith and put them in the coffers of the government, we would have a lot of money.” Kiir added.
South Sudan’s senior officials have been accused of taking bribes to smuggle goods into the country on behalf of foreign companies that should pay a lot of taxes on their imports.
The officials, who take bribes, are also accused of helping businesses to secure contracts or register their businesses without paying registration fees to the designated authorities but instead to the pockets of a few individuals.
Since independence the government has been reluctant on holding officials accountable for misapropriation and embezzlement of funds.
This quadrupal corruption but as the country lost its oil revenues, the government is trying hard to think of alternative means to generate extra revenues to run government businesses.