China denies visa to South Sudanese traders, official says

Members of the Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly headed by Wilson Lodiong Sebit Left, Lodu Lukak Center and Morad Meseka right (Photo: Taban Henry)

By Taban Henry

South Sudanese businessmen on Wednesday complaint over Chinese Embassy in Juba for denying them Visa to carryout business and buy products directly from China.

The grievance arose when members from Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly (RTNLA) who represent Chamber of Commerce in the Assembly headed by Wilson Lodiong Sebit paid a courtesy visit to the Chamber.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Deputy Chairperson for the National Chamber of Commerce, Lodu Lukak said that Chinese Embassy in Juba is denying Visas to South Sudanese traders but instead issuing them to the foreign traders.

He added that the Chinese government has a good working relation with the government but not with traders adding that their traders are undermining traders from this country.  

“China has collaboration with South Sudan but their traders do not have relations with traders in South Sudan, there are a lot of companies we are missing except the motorcycles and Rickshaws owned by Ugandan or Indian traders and we are expected to be buying those things from them but no South Sudanese in these companies,” he said.

Lukak said that they once discussed this issue with the Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan adding that there are other things that are coming into the country from above.

He added that there are some other people bringing goods into the country to be bought and they are denying “our own traders to travel citing that you can’t collaborate with our government in-terms of petrol but not in terms of trade”.      

Meanwhile the Chairperson for Trade and Industry in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly Wilson Lodiong Sebit said that the purpose of their visit was to explore ways on how traders can get access of visiting China so that they can improve on their business.

He added that they have discovered that there are some foreign traders that are dealing directly with the Chinese so that South Sudanese traders can be introducing them directly to the Chinese people.

“Our aim here is to improve the livelihood of the people in South Sudan not only China but also other countries everywhere. If tomorrow we get another Ambassador, they should make sure that our people get goods directly without any middleman because we discovered as the members of parliament that our traders are facing a lot of challenges when purchasing commodities to be brought to South Sudan,” he said.

 Lodiong added that they are trying to avoid middlemen who are trying to sabotage our traders not to do enough in their businesses adding that they are exploring ways for the South Sudanese traders to get directly from China so that “we exchange visits so that our traders can visit China and access what is there”.

“This is because history says some traders have been going to China without going through the Embassy so they want to make it legal for any trader who wants to go to China to do so without necessarily going through the Embassy” he said that.

“There are some fake people in the middle whom we don’t want and the presence of our Ambassador to China will make everything possible to us, to look for investment opportunities so that we improve the lives of our traders to go higher like the rest of the traders in other countries. When our traders are going from here, they can go through the hands of the Ambassador who is the most powerful man, he knows more about China so that they will be able to access the product directly in China without anybody in the middle,” he mentioned.

For his part, Morad Meseka the Chairperson of investment in the Revitalized Transitional National Legislative Assembly stated that South Sudanese traders are buying goods from the second or third party adding that it doesn’t make sense when the foreign traders are welcomed as national traders.

“It cannot be possible for a foreign trader to become the manager of the of a company in our nation and we have those who can be managers and this will help our traders to go forward and our role here is to strengthen the relationship between the Chamber of Commerce and our Ambassadors in all countries that our Embassies are available because we do not want blocking in the middle and our traders should not get second from other traders,” he stated.

Meseka added that there are factories here and most of them are not being registered without profits and are coming to work in the country while South Sudanese traders are not. And that the priority should be given to the South Sudanese nationals.

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