By Taban Henry
The customs departments of South Sudan and the Sudan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to harmonize taxation policies and the movement of goods between the two countries in anticipation of the resumption of trade between the two countries.
The deal was signed in Juba on Tuesday. The deal was signed by Sudan’s Director General of Customs, Bashir Al-Tahir and the head of South Sudan National Revue Authority department of customs, Director, Akol Ayii respectively.
The deal has provided policies and the best practices to regulate and harmonize revenue collections along the borders of the two countries.
It also provided for knowledge exchange, between the two countries for the management and efficient handling of collected revenues.
Speaking to the press after signing of the memorandum, the head of the customs department at the South Sudan National Revenue Authority (NRA), Akol Ayii said the memorandum of understanding was a prerequisite for the resumption of cross-border trade between the two countries.
“This MoU is going to assist because you cannot reopen the border without reaching an agreement with customs because the way of collecting taxes at the border will be different. If we harmonize the customs of Sudan and South Sudan, it is going to ease the movement of goods, tariffs and the tax policy which we will be using,” the official said.
“So, prior to the reopening of the border, we are preparing because anytime this year the border will reopen and some goods are already coming from Sudan illegally so it is better to reopen the border so that we can all get revenue,” he continued.
Mr. Ayii said the deal will grant South Sudanese customs officials to go to Khartoum and Port Sudan for training.
However, the Director-General of Sudan Customs, Bashir Al-Tahir Bashir who signed the document on behalf of Sudan reiterated his government’s commitment to implementing all the provisions of the agreement to boost bilateral trade between the sisterly countries.
“This is the historic day for the new beginning of relations between South Sudan and Sudan customs, and is very important for the economic, political, and security relations between the two countries,” he said. “We are committed to implementing all the provisions of the agreement urgently to boost trade between the two countries,” Bashir said.
Prior to the signing of the memorandum, the Commissioner-General of the South Sudan Revenue Authority (NRA), Dr. Patrick Mugoya, said he expected the agreement to increase South Sudan’s non-oil revenue.
“This fundamental change in the mandate of customs in the Republic of South Sudan, with instruments like the MoU between South Sudan and Sudan, to me is a sufficient tool to enable South Sudan Customs to increase customs revenue from the current less than SSP 1.5 billion to SSP 6 billion per month,” Dr. Mogoya said.