A 2-day economists’ workshop held in Juba to identify loopholes in the collection of revenue across the country has made stringent recommendations that will see the infant country’s revenue properly accounted for.
The South Sudanese Deputy Finance Minister Marial Awou said that the meeting chaired by the Finance Minister was attended by finance and trade and investment ministers from the ten states in South Sudan.
“The ultimate goal is to promote private business, check on commodity price increases and to mobilise internal revenues to ensure a sustainable source of funding for both national and state governments”, Awou added.
He said that the grouping dubbed the ‘inter-governmental fiscal relations task force’ , focused on five issues including elimination of revenue collection at check points, sharing of revenue sources, tax collection arrangements, reporting and remitting of revenues and methodologies of transfers and grants to state governments.
He added that the measures have a high political support as the National Council of Ministers last month ordered a ban on illegal check points.
The workshop recommended, among other things, the removal of illegal check points to measure progress made and to assist in focusing enforcement efforts.
It also recommended that legal measures and sanctions be applied in a robust fashion against those establishing and manning revenue raising checkpoints as well as the establishment of a special protection unit to monitor and enforce elimination of all revenue collection roadblocks.
“Barriers to interstate trade are contrary to provisions in the constitution, and therefore any such barriers, such as taxes levied on transit goods entering or exiting the state should be removed. Collection of key taxes should be administered by a unified revenue collection agency. This will be best executed within the framework of a Revenue Authority, taking into account both National and State level revenue competencies”, read part of the resolutions.
The task force further added that reporting and remitting of revenues at every level of government should be public and regular and should be in a standard format.
“The ministry of finance and economic planning at the central government level will develop standard reporting formats and guidelines as to how reporting and remitting of revenues should be used”, read another recommendation.
The members also recommended that the task force be maintained as a standing and supervisory body to oversee and implement the recommendations and should meet regularly at six month intervals.
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