South Sudan: Finance Minister Says Centralized Tax Collection System Necessary

Juba — South Sudan Finance and Economic Planning, Kosti Manibe Ngai, last Friday defended the centralized system of tax collection in the country after threats by Central Equatoria state governor to pull out his state from the centralized system.

Governor Clement Wani Konga on Tuesday accused the centralized tax collection officials of embezzling the collected revenues, declaring that he would deploy his state's officials to collect taxes by themselves at the state's international borders with effect from November 1, 2012.

He said his state has lost millions of South Sudanese pounds to this new arrangement where the state's share of revenues had fallen sharply due to the centralized tax collectors who do not remit the money to the government's coffers.

However finance minister Ngai in his response to governor Konga in a broadcasted statement on South Sudan TV on Friday said the centralized system of tax collection was necessary and should continue as it has avoided what he called "anarchy" in the previous random tax collection system by different levels of government in the country.

He said too many self-appointed tax collectors had previously emerged from different levels of government and institutions including unauthorized individuals who established many tables and collected taxes unprofessionally and illegally.

There is also lack of revenues which is widely blamed for the delay of salaries of both the civil servants and constitutional post holders. Employees of different institutions across the country have not received two-month salaries beginning from September.

The minister however refuted lack of revenues as the cause for the delay of salaries and instead blamed it on slowness by individual ministries and institutions to process their respective requests to release the salaries from the ministry of finance.

He said the money was available and ready for disbursement if requests were made by the individual institutions.

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