CES parliament cancels ‘controversial’ e-Tax contract

By William Madouk Garang

Members of parliament in Central Equatoria State’s transitional Legislative Assembly have indefinitely suspended a ‘controversial’ e-Tax contract awarded to Modern Approach Company a year ago, terming it as a ‘robbery’.

In November 2021, the government of Central Equatoria State signed a Memorandum of Understanding with MAC Company to design, establish operation and maintenance of e-Government system.

According to the MoU, State government shall take 70% share ratio from revenue generation while MAC gets 30% shares of the revenue generation. Whereas, in the service revenue the company gets 80% and the state with 30% respectively.

That promoted the August House to summoned three ministers to explain a contentious E-government and E- tax system they signed with a private company – MAC.

After thorough debates and hearing from the ministries concerned, the members of the House went for voting to decide whether to suspend the E-tax contract or not, in which 52 members out of 60 voted for indefinite suspension of the project.

“Now, let’s hear the result; those supporting for suspension of e-Tax system are 52, and those who support motion number two to allow the operationalization are 5 members and members who are neutral are 3 members. Now we consider it suspended until laws are put in place,” CES assembly Speaker Peter Wani Kulang announced to the House.

SPLM chief whip, Jacob Aligo Lo-Ladu said fiscal budget for 2022/23 has projected non-tax intuition like the ministry of physical infrastructure with 6 billion, adding that this is day-light robbery.  

“Tactically the section of revenue that generates a lot of money the private company is given the lion share of 80% and government 20%,” Aligo noted.

“And if you use this formula of the money generated by this ministry [of physical infrastructure] for fiscal year 2022/2023, 4.8 billion goes to the company and the state will take 1.2 billion. So, let somebody tell me the advantage of this system or of this contract itself?” he questioned.

Another MP said “Hon Speaker we are being robbed of our taxes and here you want to say that let this system continue to rob us! Imagine all these, the ministers are asking that let us leave the system to continue what will happen until when?”

“Honorable members, we are not doing this for the sake of our interest, but we are doing it for the sake of our people in Central Equatoria State, we are doing for your sake the ministers to finance the budget we have passed here,” she continued.

However, minister of Finance and Planning, Wani Tom Sebit requested for the continuation of the E-tax system as the legal documents are reviewed, asserting that terminating it might take time to be affected again.

MoU stated that the project will be executed in four phases to be funded by the company, e-Government which is known as master project with an estimated amount of $250,000 another is tax revenue project with projected amount of $1,500,000 only.

 The third one is the digital registration of land parcels was estimated at $2,000,000 and establishment of Equator Bank with $10,000,000 while medical waste collection and disposal is placed at $850,000.

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