Non-oil revenue collection still stable amid COVID-19 says Custom
By Nema Juma
The Director General of South Sudan Customs Services Maj.Gen Akol Ayii Madut on Thursday revealed that non-oil revenue collection has remained stable amid COVID-19 pandemic
Addressing the press in Juba, Madut said they were currently collecting non-oil revenue at the rate of 80 percent despite COVID-19 that had affected exports included gold, gum Arabic and teak logs.
“We are still maintaining 80 percent collection on imports compared to January, April and March before lockdown due to COVID-19. Our April, May and June (tax) collection is still up. It’s only exemptions that came down because humanitarian organizations and NGOs have stopped bringing in more goods to the country except UN World Food Program (WFP),” Madut stated.
He dismissed the speculations that non-oil revenue collection had dropped from 100 percent to 20 percent.
Madut admitted only tax exemption had hugely reduced due to humanitarian organizations that were no longer importing goods into the country due COVID-19 restrictions imposed in March.
“The exemption has dropped like in May, we collected around 85 million SSP compared to previous months when we used to collect around 9.6 billion SSP. But now we are getting only 600 million SSP from exemption of NGOs, UNMISS, international organizations and local NGOs from the charges,” he explained.
Madut revealed that gold exports worth 200,000 U.S dollars a month had been affected due to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 has affected only exemptions and not revenue because our imported goods coming from the Arab world are “lukura” liquid, second hand clothes and food from East Africa which are still coming. The flow of business from the outside world is not affected,” Madut added.
He said business flowing along the main Nimule border with Uganda still continued despite some bureaucracies imposed by authorities on both sides to curb COVID-19 infections.
“When the truck drivers come, it takes three days to be screened by authorities and then allowed to enter into South Sudan. This current delay is not because of COVID-19, the delay is because the goods are being screened,” he added.
Madut also said they had managed to minimize corruption within customs due to the ongoing reforms in the sector by introducing tax forms for recording and inspecting details of goods in transit.
“We used to have over 2,800 officers in customs but since I came I have sent away almost 400 customs officers over corruption,” Madut stated