Parliament suspends Nairobi terminal handling South Sudan cargo

By Adia Jildo

The parliamentary standing specialized committee on Finance and Planning on Tuesday resolved to suspend the handling of South Sudan cargo at the Nairobi Freight Terminal, declaring war against illegal tax collections at the freight terminal.

The suspension followed alleged reports of illegal tax collection at Nairobi Freight terminal port and Nimule border post citing it as a cause of skyrocketing prices in the market.

The standing specialized committee of Finance and Planning at the Transitional Legislative Assembly had summoned the Minister of Finance Agak Acuil Lual, Minister of Transport Madut Biar and the Commissioner for Customs Akol Ayii and the Commissioner General of National Revenue Authority Patrick Mugoya to answer queries on the collection of taxes in Nairobi and Nimule which were not part of the financial Act.

They said revenues collected at the border and port are not being remitted to the National Revenue Authority’s account, according to the lawmakers findings.

Changkuoth Bichiock Reth, the chairperson of the Finance committee said the decision came as a result of numerous cries from the business communities on the forceful transfer of South Sudan cargo handling from Mombasa port to Nairobi freight terminal without consultation with the traders and the government concerned authorities.

He said a concern raised that the transportation cost from Nairobi Fright Terminal was higher compared to goods handled by the Mombasa port.

“Illegal taxes of 250 United States dollars were collected at Nairobi, while in Nimule, 500 United States Dollars and 75,000 South Sudanese pounds was also collected before clearance. We are yet to find out who are those doing it” noted Bichiock.

“The resolution that we reached on the illegal collection of taxes and Nairobi Freight Terminal handling cargo of South Sudan is suspended till investigation is done,” declared the chairperson for Finance at the assembly.

“An investigative team from the Committee of Finance and Economic Planning to be formed to investigate the handling of goods in Nairobi Freight Terminal and Mombasa until the issues regarding the terminals are handled by the government, stakeholders and relevant ministries,” he added.

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