National, News

Donors protest fees on humanitarian aid

By Charles K Mark


Members of the international community have protested South Sudan government’s plan to impose costs on humanitarian donations.

The embassies of Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America wrote the protest letter in a joint statement seen by this outlet on Sunday.

The donor community urged the transitional government of national unity to immediately halt recent actions that have imposed alleged illicit and unacceptable costs on donors.

They said even the UN agencies and implementing partners who are seeking to provide humanitarian assistance in South Sudan must be exempt from the costs.

Current examples of efforts to impose costs on humanitarian assistance include the e-Petroleum Accreditation Permit, according to the joint statement.

Others include customs fees, the electronic cargo tracking note, the laboratory test on food rations, and the security escort fee.

“Such attempts are contrary to international practice and South Sudanese law, which clarifies that the United Nations, UN specialized agencies, diplomatic missions, or other international donors and their contractors, grantees, and implementing partners in South Sudan are exempted from excise duties,” the statement reads in part:.

America, the EU, and Japan suggested customs duties and fees, and other taxes, charges, and fees on goods and services directly related to diplomatic missions or donor-funded projects should be removed.

“When the transitional government imposes such costs, it is diverting life-saving aid from South Sudanese people in need,” the statement continued.

The peace partners want the transitional government to reduce the costs and risks faced by those seeking to provide humanitarian assistance to its people.

In a bid to curb fraud, South Sudan and Uganda Revenue Authorities had agreed to introduce a cargo tracking note (CTN).

The Commissioner General of the South Sudan Revenue Authority, Africano Mande, in a meeting with his Ugandan counterpart, John R. Musinguzi, vowed to curb corruption along the border.

In March of this year, the National Ministry of Finance and Planning ordered the operationalization of electronic CTN at the border points.

Just within the same month, hundreds of vehicles and containers of cargo destined for South Sudan were seen stuck at different port facilities.

This was allegedly due to the introduction of a $350 fee for the Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN) for each transit goods container by the South Sudan Revenue Authority (NRA).

However, following a lawsuit in April, the High Court in Mombasa, Kenya, suspended the collection of $350 in Electronic Cargo Tracking Notes charges levied by the government of South Sudan.


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