Agak demands part of NRA collection to clear salary arrears

Agak demands part of NRA collection to clear salary arrears
Agak Achuil Lual, South Sudan’s minister of finance and planning, speaking during the launching of the two NRA collection centers on Wednesday in Juba (Photo: Alex Bullen)

The Ministry of Finance and Planning has asked the National Revenue Authority (NRA) to remit part of the SSP 6.7 billion non-oil revenue for the first month of the fiscal year 2022–2023 to help clear off arrears owed to the civil servants.

Agak Achuil Lual said his ministry will only be able to clear the two month arears NRA release part of July remittance.

Failure to do so, Lual warns will stretchy the debt owed to workers beyond two months.

“Give me that SSP 6 billion that you said you collected in the first fifteen days of the first month of the 2022/2023 financial year. That money will enable me to clear the remaining two months’ arrears of civil servants’ salaries,” Minister Achuil said.

“I will assure you that if I am done with that, then in the next month of August 2022, the civil servants will be receiving their salaries on the 28th of every month and we will never have any arrears anymore,” he added.

On Wednesday NRA announced that it had collected more than 6 billion SSP in the first fifteen days of the first month of the financial year of 2022/2023.

Lual cautioned that if the outstanding wages are not cleared, the nation will continue to accumulate debts, which will lead to an increase in tax collection fraud.

Patrick Kennedy Mugoya, the Commissioner General, said NRA non-oil collection has increased significantly over the previous months.

“This is the first month of the financial year of 2022/2023 for which you have allocated to NRA the target of collecting 117 billion and 35 million SSP growth teams.”

“During the first fifteen days of this month of the financial year, gross non-oil revenue collection reached an aggregate of 6.7 billion SSP in growth teams,” Mugoya added.

According to him, the NRA’s monthly revenue must not drop below 9.7 billion pounds in order to meet that goal. Furthermore, the domestic and customer collections of the NRA will each contribute 62 and 38 percent, respectively.

The Commissioner General was certain that if the NRA received backing and oversight from the full government of national unity, they would be able to achieve their goals.

He said the news is nevertheless optimistic for South Sudanese even if there are numerous risks that the government is currently working to eliminate to achieve its goals.

On Tuesday, the NRA Commissioner General announced that the NRA has made a significant revenue collection in the past 2021–2022, amounting to 80 billion SSP, more than the government expected target.

Mr. Mugoya told the media that the government’s target for non-oil revenue collection was about 58 billion SSP per year, with the ability to surpass it due to citizens’ compliance with tax officers.

“I can assure you that most of the South Sudanese are paying their taxes voluntarily, although we have a few elements who try to evade taxes to cheat the government.”

“Although the government planned to collect SSP 58 billion, we managed to collect an additional more than SSP 20 billion. So we collected around SSP 80 billion when the government had planned to collect SSP 58 billion,” Mugoya said.

This marks the first time that the NRA announces such a huge gain in non-oil revenue collection which used to be less than 20 billion per fiscal year.

Mugoya, a foreign national employed to manage the youngest African nation struggling to recover its economy, promised to exert more efforts that would result in further gain in non-oil collection for the country.