Reprieve for UN agencies after gov’t orders tax exemptions

Reprieve for UN agencies after gov’t orders tax exemptions

The Minister of Finance and Planning, Awow Daniel, ordered tax exemptions for all United Nations-specialized agencies, relief organizations, and diplomatic missions but maintained levies on services rendered by UNMISS-contracted firms.

In the ministerial order issued on Friday, Awow stated that the directive is regarding Section 88 of the Taxation Act 2009 and in recognition of the vital humanitarian and diplomatic efforts within the country.

“The order that came into force on May 3, 2024, reads that all UN agencies, humanitarian organizations, and diplomatic missions in South Sudan shall be exempted from the payment of taxes and customs duties,” he noted.

“The ministerial order indicated that these are goods and services imported for humanitarian purposes or for the mentioned entities to carry out their activities in the country,” he added.

According to Awow, all UNMISS-contracted companies to render service internally shall not be part of this exemption of taxes, charges, and fees on goods, the order reads.

“These companies are profit-making entities and are subject to applicable tax related to services provided per the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA),” he stated.

He stated that exempted entities must comply with policies on Electronic Cargo Tracking Note, E-Petroleum Accreditation, and dipping, marking, and testing of fuel entering the country.

Last week, the embassies of Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States expressed concern over the imposed taxes, which they claimed were hindering humanitarian aid efforts in South Sudan.

The diplomatic missions cited examples of current efforts to impose costs on humanitarian assistance, including the e-Petroleum, Accreditation Permit, customs fees, and charges for the electronic cargo tracking note, laboratory tests on food rations, and security escort fees

The United States ambassador to South Sudan Michael Adler recently pointed out that funding from his country intended to support vulnerable populations in South Sudan must not be used to pay taxes to the government.

Adler said the efforts to use US assistance to extract government revenue are not authorised and may lead to consequences for South Sudan, where millions require humanitarian aid.