State parliament grills ministers over controversial deal

By Bida Elly David

Central Equatoria State Transitional Legislative Assembly yesterday summoned three ministers before the August house to explain a controversial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they signed with a private company for the establishment of E-government system on revenue collection before deliberation.

In November 2021, the government of Central Equatoria State signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mac Company to design, establish operation and maintenance of E-Government system for the state.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the E-government system would set-up an on-line digital platform for on time payment of taxes by tax payers reducing challenges faced by tax institutions within the economic cluster.

Furthermore, the MoU stated in its quote that Central Equatoria State government shall take 70% share ratio from revenue generation while Modern Approach Company (MAC) goes with 30% shares of the revenue generation.

The summoned ministers before the August house were the State Minister of cabinet affairs, Minister of information and communication and the minister of finance, planning and investment.

The parliamentarians were disturbed with the segment of the agreement that subjected Modern Approach Company to claim eighty percent 80% shares of the service revenue for specialized set-up of investment and operations while Central Equatoria State government takes twenty percent 20% of the service revenues.

In the above mentioned motion debated upon, the state parliamentarians said that the memorandum of understanding signed between the executive and the company would not be effective and genuine if clear explanation would not be presented before them by the summoned ministers.

At the same note, they underscored that rendering Modern Approach Company (MAC) the powers to undertake the collection of the state revenues through the E-taxation system would result into misappropriation as the state government would not fully benefit from its resources.

The legislatures further stated that the executive used a wrong time frame to strike a deal with the company before the State budget could be finalized by the parliament for final endorsement.

They slammed the Executive for having indicated their final signatures on the document before verification and deliberation by the assembly.

Speaking during the seating, one of the lawmakers said that the parties should have done feasibility studies before tackling the agreement.

“Before the project is endorsed, there are number of things to be corrected here or needed to be discussed carefully. When we talk of revenue collections and revenue authorities though we talk of the idea of bringing the company, there must be feasibility studies before saying, forming the board of governors that they are taking to collect the revenues without the notice of the assembly,” he said.

He added that anything concerning public finances needed to be discussed and deliberated thoroughly by the assembly before becoming a law.

Finally, they have given seven days for the summoned ministers to appear before the august house for comprehensive explanation of the Memorandum signed without the notice of the parliament.

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