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US envoy iterates calls on govt to end levy on aid imports

Author: Michael Daniel | Published: Sunday, April 21, 2024

US Ambassador to South Sudan Michael J. Adler. (-)

The United States Ambassador to South Sudan repeated calls on the government to eliminate taxation on imports from UN agencies and diplomatic missions to reduce the cost of providing badly needed aid to vulnerable populations.

Ambassador Michael J. Adler made the statement after meeting South Sudan’s foreign minister, James Pitia Morgan, in Juba on Friday.

This follows a similar call from the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Anita Kiki Gbeho, on the government to abolish taxation on humanitarian goods in the country.

Ms Gbeho said the issue of taxation on aid imports could worsen the already dire displacement and economic crises in the country.

Ambassador Adler, meanwhile, called for a reduction of the cost of providing humanitarian assistance through tax exemption for imports from aid organizations and UN development partners.

“This includes the immediate elimination of duties taxes and fees on those providing humanitarian assistance to help the people of South Sudan,” Adler said, speaking to state-owned television SSBC.

“This includes the United Nations, UN specialized agencies diplomatic missions and their contractors grantees and implementing partners.”

In a separate statement on Sunday, ten embassies of Western countries called on the government to lift taxes imposed on humanitarian assistance including the e-Petroleum Accreditation Permit, customs fees, the electronic cargo tracking note, the laboratory test on food rations, and the security escort fee.

These include the embassy of Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland

According to the foreign Embassies, such attempts contradict international practice and South Sudanese law.

They argue that the practice diverts life-saving aid from South Sudanese people in need.

In March, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator expressed concern over insecurity and taxation, citing that the situation hinders the delivery of humanitarian goods and services across the country.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, James Morgan released a statement – commending the US backing of South Sudan during the war for independence and its current humanitarian assistance.

The statement said both diplomats expressed their commitment to enhancing ties between South Sudan and the United States.

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