By Adia Jildo
Traders in Konyo-Konyo market have blamed price hike on rampant tax charges often without copy of receipts.
They cited that most tax collectors levy heavy and irrelevant tax leading to collapse of their businesses and increase in commodity prices.
On Wednesday, the National Minister of Finance Agak Acuil during the launch of the National Revenue Authority office in Konyo-Konyo and Munuki said there were unnecessary taxes collected by numerous people in the market citing it is a cause for inflation.
Kiir Noon Deng, a trader in Konyo-Konyo said the taxes levied on traders were random and too much hence increasing the prices.
“These people don’t write the receipt in your presence. They will take money from you stating that it’s for inspections, they will enter their car and write a receipt and bring it for you without you seeing how it happened,” he said.
Kiir said he was given a receipt that did not reflect the amount of money he had paid for the charge.
“I got a person who wrote for me a receipt without a copy. If you want to go and check, they will apologize that it’s a mistake as if we are working for free in this market. They will never give you an opportunity to see whether there is a copy of the receipt or not,” he narrated.
“Even if there are unnecessary fines, we are not the ones who carry all these burdens, the consumers face it all on them,” he said.
He said despite the heavy taxation that is carried out, there are no services delivered to them.
“If they come, even if there are no mistakes in your goods, you will have to pay for the inspection. They will never go without any fine or charges placed on you to pay,” he said.
Kiir called on the government to monitor its policy on tax collection and stakeholders involved to prevent irrelevant taxation.
“Tax must be regulated by stating a fixed price and its reasons well stated to traders. We should be able to see the receipt and its copy to avoid being cheated on,” he called.
Rose Sadia Wani, also a trader in Konyo-Konyo however said the disturbing taxation has left the businesses lagging and underdeveloped.
“Taxation is the biggest problem we have now. The money they fine us is too much that we cannot make the money they tax in a month,” she cried out.
She said there have been no service delivery such as rubbish collection yet still they are fined for the hygiene of the place that persists amidst complaints.
“If you are got with rubbish; you did not paint your shop, you are charged. We don’t have any relationship with the city council because we are not happy. Every time fine,” she said.
Rose said some of the traders’ businesses have collapsed due to the high tax imposed on them. He called on the Mayor of Juba City to talk to the tax collectors to ensure that traders are not unnecessarily taxed.
“Let the government listen to its people. Most of us are suffering, we try to bring something in the market with what we have to at least survive,” she called.
The Chairperson of Juba City Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Stephen Wani however blamed the high and irregular taxation on the absence of regulatory system of tax collection stating that it’s the irresponsibility of the government to control the market.
“The imposition of the heavy taxes on traders in the market of Juba city without the knowledge of Juba city, government authority means that the authority of Juba city is not in control of the market because markets and businesses are government responsibility,” he said.
He said the entities collecting taxes must go through the Juba city council.
He called on the authorities of Juba city council to deploy security personnel to trace down the tax collectors for verification of reasons for tax collection.
He called for the harmonization of taxes due to several stakeholders taking part in tax collection.
“I advise our traders to report any case of arbitrary taxing because if they are taxed, they pay money and the money is not reflected in the receipt and they are not convinced in the tax that they are paying, they should report to the Chamber of Commerce in their nearest offices” Wani said.