National, News

Water tanker operators adamant to reduce prices

By Bida Elly David

Some private water tanker operators have breached a recent order issued by Juba city mayor to reduce prices per barrel, demanding tax exemption and economic reforms by the council.

Last week, the mayor of Juba City Council, Michael Lado Allah-Jabu issued a deliberate order directing water suppliers to temporarily reduce the prices.

The order limited an amount of SSP 800 to areas within the town and SSP 1000 to areas on the outskirt of the town, per barrel.

This order comes after water tankers increased the price per barrel of water in the city, citing the depreciation of the South Sudanese Pounds against foreign currencies.

Despite the order, two third of the suppliers were discontented with the mayor’s orders following the current economic recession accompanied by serious market inflation.

They are resolute to adhere to the mayor’s order and they continued to charge their own price per barrel in the different residential areas.

However, Lemi Richard, a water supplier to Gudele two zone, reiterated the city council’s hefty taxes, fuel cost per liter, and other vehicle mechanical costs as factors that constituted to violation of the orders.

He said the mayor issued the order without conducting market research or meeting the business unit through the state’s chamber of commerce to hear their views.

“We buy fuel at a high cost; our trucks on several occasions undergo mechanical faults in the process of reaching water in some risky areas amid poor infrastructure. We will not reduce,’’ Lemi said.

Lemi condemned the City Council’s tendency of issuing orders on traders without putting into consideration the angle of tax exemption to convince them to compromise the final consumers.

He underscored that some citizens who stand by their side commended the rise following the continuous challenges they face as far as the transportation of water is concerned.

“There are places that our trucks cannot pass especially Hai Kugi, Lokwilili, and others but we try our best despite the shortage of fuel we undergo but we are punished on top,’’ Lemi pointed out.

Meanwhile, Ali Mustafa, another tanker driver jagged that the suppliers have directly been affected by the ongoing inflation, but the authority doesn’t consider their efforts in extending services to the people.

“The current crisis is affecting all of us since we also need to eat. We can’t eat water. We also buy food such as sauces, flour and sugar from other traders, who sell at higher prices so why only us,’’ he inquired.

Mustafa called on the city council to give time as the Country still fights to impose economic reforms to the best of its capacity adding that inflation won’t be combated if the economic sector remains paralyzed.

However, he also urged the business sector, as well as the state and the national chambers of commerce to work towards the interest of traders, before they opt for a strike.

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