Tug of war after NRA hiked customs rate for imported goods
The economic cluster has criticised the National Revenue Authority for increasing taxes, customs duties and elevating the exchange rate.
Dr. Abraham Maliet Mamer, the Economic Advisor for the Economic Cluster, led by Dr. James Wani Igga, said the National Revenue Authority (NRA) made a blunder by increasing rates on taxes and customs duties.
Dr. Maliet said such actions should only come from the Bank of South Sudan – BOSS; and the Ministry of Finance, and with the knowledge of the Economic Cluster.
He said the unilateral decision taken by the NRA might be harmful to the economy.
“There is no government department that has been authorised to determine the exchange rate without consultation with the bank of South Sudan.” No one has any right to determine the rate of a foreign currency outside the central bank policies,” he stated.
“This is a blunder because there is no basis for anybody to determine the exchange rate on their own.” It is the Bank of South Sudan that determines. If you are a government institution that is following the policies of the government, now you need to follow what the Bank of South Sudan releases on a daily basis. “
He emphasised that commodity prices are already hiking as a result of the rate set by the National Revenue Authority, and warned that it could affect everything across the country.
“Now everything has gone up. People are now buying 600ml of water at SSP200. That’s too much. And there is no justification at all for this. “
According to Dr. Maliet, the National Revenue Authority (NRA) was supposed to get a copy of the exchange rate only from the Central Bank to determine their charges.
“The Revenue Authority should only have a copy of the exchange rate released every morning by the Central Bank so that they can use it. And that copy is what determines what they should charge. They don’t have the liberty of determining the exchange rate on their own, it is not allowed,” the economist argued.
“They went even beyond the black market that is now at 650 [SSPs] per dollar.” We are not serious and I am so disappointed to read these things are happening officially and openly. This is not the way we can run this country. “
The Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Patrick Mugoya, announced in a circular that the rates of conversion of merchandise had been increased to 900 [SSPs] per dollar from 450 [SSPs] per dollar effective from July 18, 2022.
“The exchange rate for the conversion of merchandise values from USD to SSP has been increased to SSP 90(0) per USD 1 from 45 (0), per USD 1 as was the case previously,” Mugoya said.
“The National Revenue Authority is responsible for administering and enforcing internal, financial acts.” For the fiscal year, 2021–2022, applicable taxes and other levies due to the National Revenue government are specified in the financial activities, 2021–2022. Instructions given in this circular shall become effective on July 18, 2022. “
He directed the Commissioner for Domestic Tax Revenue and the Commissioner for Customs Revenue, to comply with the order and direct their staff.
“The circular serves as formal communication to the commissioner for domestic tax revenue, the commissioner for customs revenue, and their respective staff that the Financial Act 2021/2022 is now in force,” the NRA commissioner continued.
“Consequently, they are hereby directed that, with effect from July 18th, 2022, taxes, fees, and other levies of the National Government throughout the Republic shall be as stipulated in the Financial Act 2021/2022 until such time that the Act is repealed and replaced by another law.”
In response to this directive, the Commissioner General of Customs Revenue, Akol Ayii Madut, disregarded this order as unconstitutional, and a breach of the laws of the nation.
“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.
“Loyalty to the oath and abiding by the laws of the land, I am a constitutional post holder, appointed as Director General of the South Sudan Customs Service by 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. “
Attempts to reach the Commissioner General of the NRA were futile as he could not answer phone calls to respond to the issue.