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Chamber of commerce slams mayor over tax upsurge

By Bida Elly David


Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce has slammed Juba City Council’s decision to increase taxes to boost their activities.

The Chamber Chairperson, Robert Pitia argued that the increment will risk the country’s ailing economy as traders may tend to increase prices.

Last week, the mayor of Juba City Council, H.W. Flora Gabriel Modi, along with the city legislative council, took a step to increase taxes in a bid to improve service delivery in the city.

Speaking to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Sunday, Mr. Pitia said that they will not honour the decision because neither traders’ union nor the chamber of commerce were consulted at national or state levels.

“The decision of the mayor to decide to increase taxes is irrelevant because there’s no basis to increase taxes while the citizens and traders are in crisis,” he critiqued.

Pitia emphasized that the decision will trigger automatic market inflation not only in Juba but across the country, thus leaving consumers in a purchase dilemma.

He further challenged the council and urged them to use the current tax rate to collect their revenues for improving the city.

“Let them use the tax rate that they are collecting from the traders directly for services. Our own citizens are suffering, and with the increment, they will suffer more,” he noted.

The chamber boss slammed the mayor, saying tax decisions are supposed to be made after market studies and analysis.

Mr. Pitia stated that South Sudan is an importing country with limited producing sectors, adding that the pressure given to traders will hinder development.

“Honestly, we don’t accept that statement since it will cause a big problem. You cannot just say something without analyzing the market immediately before making a decision. This can’t work,” he protested.

Moreover, Pitia highlighted the number of issues raised by traders over hyperinflation, stating that inflation won’t occur out of the blue since they also strive for profits.

“They just pressurize people in the market for nothing, yet citizens don’t benefit from the collections made. The mayor doesn’t know anything. If she wants to do something, she must first consult and take time to analyze the impacts of market forces,” he underscored.

Pitia, however, urged traders to be on standby as the city council makes the decision, saying they will intervene in case the initiative fails to reach their table as the chambers.

“Traders should not rush to increase prices just because of the statement from the council; let them maintain their prices until the claimed order is executed, and we shall deal with the mayor as traders’ representatives,” he added.

Meanwhile, Abraham Matoch, an economic analyst, differed with Pitia in his argument, saying that where there is a gap in public sector development, tax is the solution.

He encouraged the step taken by the city council to increase taxes for delivering services to the citizens of the city.

“That is the right move because we need resources for development, and this will be through an increase in taxes by separate coffers or by creators,” he stated.

Abraham noted that the government will only be blamed if the money from taxes is not used to benefit the citizens.

He advised the city council to do what is necessary to make the city look clean and green. He, however, challenged the council about any malpractices that might arise in due course.


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