Women business group wants trade barriers removed

Women business group wants trade barriers removed
Higher taxes are linked to the death of most start-ups.

The South Sudan Professional Women in Business has called on the government to remove barriers that she says affect women entrepreneurs in the country.

Rachael Akech, the group chairperson said they were facing numerous challenges, including freedom of movement, and high taxation on consumable goods most women import into the country to save lives.

“Women who are doing business in South Sudan are facing lots of challenges, especially at the border crossing points. “They have been charged even on consumable goods that they are importing to save lives in South Sudan,”, said Akech.  

She was speaking during the launch of South Sudan’s first-ever e-commerce hub, aimed at promoting business and providing easy market access to businesses owned by women and youth. The launch took place in Juba on Monday.

According to Akech, the barriers should be removed immediately, if South Sudanese women are to succeed in business because they have added more challenges.

“They are also facing challenges of movement restriction, but they are talking about free movement of people across the border, especially to Uganda.  There is no free movement, and how can consumable goods be charged? “These things should be addressed to allow women to do their business freely,” she said.

In 2021, some businesswomen in Juba’s main markets of Konyo-Konyo, Jebel, Muniki, and Gudele complained to authorities about high taxes they said the government imposed on them.

The traders said they could barely make profits due to the multiple taxes the state and national authorities demanded from them.

“As mothers, we have children to look after. We are getting different taxes in the market, and much of our profit is going to paying taxes. “Now, what are we doing in the market there?” said Mary Kiden, a charcoal vendor in Gudele Market.

They lamented that instead of supporting women, the government was doing the opposite by suppressing women in business. They called on the on authorities to remove such barriers.

The government was yet to respond to the cries of women. However, last year, the Central Equatoria Chairperson of Commerce, Agriculture, and Industry, Robert Pitia, promised to create an enabling business environment to help women, but nothing substantial is yet to come out of his organization.