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EAC Free trade law soon

The Commissioner General of NRA, Dr. Olympio Ottipoe (photo by Kitab A Unango):

By Viola Matela

The Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority has reiterated that the country needed to fully implement a free trade regulation.

He said that South Sudan being a member of EAC was under obligation to implement given regulations on custom duties.

“The Parliament needs to ratify the common external tariff 2006 provision. In our yearly budget as a country, we cannot continue nurturing apart from the common external tariff being a member of the EAC,” Olympio Attipoe, Commissioner of the National Revenue Authority said.

The Commissioner General revealed that in 2017, South Sudan applied for a three year grace period not to implement the common external tariff which expires in September 2019 but the country was not ready to implement yet.

Attipoe suggested that in preparation for the country to implement this tariff, the parliament had to ratify it first.

According to Attipoe, the tariff provided for easy trade facilitation and free movement of goods. The common external tariff stipulates that,

“All goods which will be imported from outside the EA region are supposed to be levied upon a custom duty whereas those from within can go duty free,” he revealed.

“Somebody from Uganda, Rwanda or South Sudan can go to China and import electronic appliances but upon arrival in their country, the custom duty will be 25 percent across the region,” he explained.

Attipoe however warned that this tax had undesired impact on each country’s citizens incase an imported item is a sensitive commodity in another EA country majorly used by the poor; the required tariff makes the price too high posing a threat to the citizens.

Attipoe however said that the NRA could prepare a technical document on behalf of the country and give it to the Minister of Finance who applies for a stay off application.

“This document means that yes, we are members of EAC but we cannot implement the 25 percent across borders but opt to use a relatively lower one say 10 percent instead,” he said.

The Commissioner General made these remarks in an exclusive interview with Juba Monitor after his return from a three day seminar organized by JICA in Kampala on capacity building of NRA custom division officials on issues of common external tariff within the EAC trading bloc.

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