Juba, October 31, 2012 (SSNA) — Yesterday at the South Sudan Hotel in Buluk, Minister of Finance Kosti Manibe, Governor of Central Equatoria State (CES) Clement Wani Konga, and their delegations met to discuss ways to improve tax collection in Central Equatoria State.
In November of last year, all ten State Governors and Ministries of Finance developed a streamlined approach to collection of taxes on various goods, to be managed by the RSS Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. The goal was to reduce unofficial collections, eliminate multiple checkpoints, and improve the business environment in South Sudan.
Last week, the Central Equatoria Governor announced CES’s intention to reintroduce the collection of their own taxes, on the grounds that they were receiving reduced revenue under the centralized system.
According to Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning records, before the new system was implemented, CES collected in the region of 11 million SSP a month. Under the revised system, they received 6 million SSP from the taxes collected centrally and a further 2.6 million SSP in taxation revenues from land registration, vehicle registration and licenses among others.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning maintains its support for the reforms to reduce multiple collections – official and unofficial –which imposed additional costs that were being passed on to citizens who purchase goods. Centralization will also help to improve the transparency of tax collection and lower the cost of doing business in South Sudan.
The Minister of Finance acknowledged that the transition to the new system has not been without some teething problems, and noted that the concerns expressed by Central Equatoria State were deserving of serious consideration.
At the meeting, the Ministry of Finance and CES have agreed to establish a Technical Committee to review the issues raised by the Governor and to report by 13th November on its findings and recommendations. In the meantime, Central Equatoria State will continue the centralized collection arrangements, and postpone any implementation of collecting taxes at its borders.