Supremacy battle plaques NRA-Customs Service restructuring

Supremacy battle plaques NRA-Customs Service restructuring
NRA and Customs Service leaderships air their differences after the restructuring order. The recent difference came from the revision of customs rates by the tax collector. [Photo: Alex Bullen]

A supremacy battle is brewing between two income-generating institutions—the National Revenue Authority and Customs Service—in what appears to be triggered by a clash of roles. 

President Salva Kiir issued Republican Order No. 16: 2022 that transferred Customs Services to the National Revenue Authority with effect from June 1, 2022. However, the order did not indicate a division of their roles. The process of structuring the mandate of the two authorities has brought unease, and it now threatens to blow up into an ugly tiff of revenue collectors. 

On Monday, during the opening session of the NRA’s five-day “Change Management” workshop, NRA Commissioner-General, Patrick Mugoya, expressed frustration, blaming some top Customs officers for trying to block the operationalisation of the NRA despite its being fully mandated by the President. 

”Last evening, I received many frantic calls suggesting that I call off the workshop because invitees from the customs have been warned not to participate or else they will be dismissed from their current position.” The calls came from within customs and even from outside, from within some government organs, “he lamented.

He added, “Where I come from, men and women in uniform make up the most respected and admired members of society for their courage, discipline, and professionalism, patriotism, and respect for authorities.’’

He said the invitation was made in good faith but it turned out that they were regarded pointless. He however did not mention any officer in specific. 

“I took it as grounded that these virtues are applied universally but it turns out and I was wrong properly they don’t apply here.”

The NRA boss called upon NRA and Customs officers to move on with reform agenda ‘‘by keeping their face always towards the sunrise so that shades will fall behind them.”

He promised to continue with his agenda of fully operationalize the NRA, based on his experience while urging its members to work together in order to achieve the NRA dream.

He also vowed to introduce tactical measures in order to increase non-oil revenue collection in a big way.

Differences surface

On July 15, Mugoya issued a circular revising and raising several taxes and fees, with effect from Monday this week. In a response, the Commissioner-General of Customs Revenue, Maj Gen. Ayii Madut, disregarded this order as unconstitutional, and a breach of the laws of the nation.

In a letter dated July 18, 2022 and submitted to the head of the NRA, Ayii told off Mugoya for ‘‘exceeding his authority and undermining his constitutional duties.’’

“Your circulars are received by my office and seem to be unprincipled and misguided based on how you make them up without lawful conformity and respect for the constitution of the Republic of South Sudan,” Madut stated.

“I am a constitutional post holder, appointed as Director General of the South Sudan Customs Service by President Salva Kiir, President of the Republic of South Sudan in 2018. Nobody has powers except the president of the Republic to prevent any power vested in me as Commissioner of Customs Service. “

He accused Mugoya of fabricating unlawful circulars in what looked to be a struggle for dominance within the revenue sector. The attack was part of what appeared to be a conflict over supremacy.

Ayii stated that any communication and information to Chief Customs Officers should be routed through his office and the institution’s administrative command sequence.

He further rubbished the NRA Commissioner Generals directive saying it shall not be applicable to his Customs officers.