National News

Aweil launches state revenue authority

The acting governor of Aweil state and the Japanese ambassador yesterday inaugurated the State Revenue Authority to help raise non-oil revenue collection for the State.

Aweil State Revenue Authority is one of the three state revenue authorities developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with funding from the Japanese Embassy in Juba.

The others are Jubek and Gbudwe states which are yet to be inaugurated.

After launching the project, Japanese Ambassador to the country Kiya Masahiko said he hoped the success of the pilot project in Aweil, Jubek and Gbudwe will be replicated throughout the rest of the states in the country.

He said the program will help the state raise public money for public services to save lives and the country in a sustainable manner.

Masahiko noted that having an independent revenue authority helps the state to be self-reliant and independent. “You can be proud and independent because you don’t ask money from others,” he said. “This can help you provide basic services to your citizens without asking for help from donors and the central government.”

Masahiko said implementation of the revenue authority must ensure there is accountability and transparency to realize the potential of the revenue authority.

Acting Governor of Aweil state, James Wieu Mayuol said the state government will ensure it was economically equitable, elastic, diversified, and flexible.

He said the government will punish any staff of the authority found engaged in fraud, and collusion with tax payers to evade taxes and defraud the state.

State Minister of Finance and public service, Garang Majak Bol said since oil revenue for the country is no longer sustainable, and no proper tax system is in place to generate money from the public, the state can now provide services to its people from the money they pay.

Bol said Aweil state had already enacted in to law the State Revenue Authority Act 2017; and accessed tax collectors for implementation of the policy. He said the state is conducting public awareness about the law and its importance, and trained members of parliaments on their oversight roles.

However, he said the revenue authority will only deliver when the state government officials implement the policies and legal frameworks guiding the authority put in place.

Bol said there is also need for computerization of the tax system to ease the work of the officials.

Biplove Choundhary, Senior Programs Advisor of UNDP said the revenue authority will help in providing funds for the provision of services to the state citizens.

“The state was not able to provide services to the citizens because of lack of resources that is why we initiated this revenue authority.”

He said the link between revenue collection and provision of services must be visible to enable tax payers to pay more. “It will ensure essential health services, education, so that people will be productive and willing to contribute to the development of the country,” he said.

By Jale Richard

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