SANCTIONED: South Sudan information minister Michael Makuei. Photo credit/youtube.com

South Sudan has formed a technical committee that will review the rise in tax collection and fees, stating that charges and other fees including those of work permits should conform to regional rates.

Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister of Information and the government spokesman said a committee had been formed to look into the matter, adding that the organisations along with anyone that was affected by the directives should wait for results before taking action.

“We want these rates to be in conformity with the regional rates. A committee has been formed and tasked to review the outcome, so that we can see if it is in accordance with the regional rates. The final results will probably come out next week,” said the minister.

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Lueth’s comments follow a circular from the Ministry of Labour, which announced the changes in fees, stating they were in line with the Taxation Amendment Act of 2016/2017 and in accordance with the 2016-2017 budget.

The documents suggested there be a rise in charges to close the deficit after failing to secure funding from the donors. The Ministry of Labour was targeted by the circular. The ministry raised the work permit for foreign nationals from USD 100 to amounts reaching 10,000.

The Immigration and Aviation departments also had their charging fees increase: with aviation increasing their landing fees for international aircraft from USD 240- 4000.

The new changes sparked a public outcry and added diplomatic pressure on the government.

Observers say this would affect humanitarian work. They also expressed fears of donors being discouraged from funding the humanitarian activities in South Sudan, like the famine that has hit the country.