Legal practitioner criticizes Jonglei state over social service tax
Advocate Reech Malual, Executive Director at Screen of Rights, also an advocate
at Badres Law Firm (Photo: Manyuon Mayen)
By Manyuon Mayen Manyuon
The Executive Director for Screen of Rights Reech Malual has criticized Jonglei state government for imposing household tax on the inhabitants.
Last week, traditional chiefs said they had been directed by the state authorities to collect head tax from every native of Jonglei state including those in the diaspora.
Speaking to Juba Monitor yesterday, Advocate Reech Malual who is also an advocate at Badres Law Firm said there was no any article in the constitution or local acts that allow the government to tax people who don’t earn any income.
He urged the government to be able to lift the sanctions on the local people
“This is because the situation does not allow such acts as we talk now. I would want the government to establish measures that indicate what kind of income are the citizens being asked to pay,” Reech said.
According to him, the local government should clarify to the public why the civil population was put under condition.
“Is it the harvest, is it cattle keeping? We need to know what is there and be able to measure those incomes against the households’ tax that have been introduced,” he explained.
“Since most households are earning their living through a UN relief, then there is no need of introducing such taxes. So, if the local government is going to provide services then, that is when they can be able to introduce taxes,” Reech added.
Mr. Dut Achuek Lual, Jonglei State Minister of Local Government confirmed that the social service tax was legalized last year by state assembly for all citizens within 18 to 62 year old in each county.
Minister Dut said that the agreed tax of 300SSP per year was introduced to help generate funds for development at the grassroots level.
Lately February, at least 122 chiefs in Twic East Counties of Jonglei were suspended by the Local government over their failure to implement the order.
Mr. Duot Ajang Duot, one of the suspended Paramount Chiefs of Kongor County said that social service tax was not going to be implemented as it has not basis foundation.
Mr. Duot called on the state government to reinstate the removed community leaders, saying that it wasn’t sensible to see communities operating without functional headmen.
According to South Sudan Transitional Constitution all states are to legislate for raising revenue or collecting taxes from sources, including state land and property tax and royalties; service charges for state services; licenses issued by the state; and any other tax as may be determined by the law.