South Sudan: One year after independence

Increasing non-oil revenue


Over the past two years, 5 states in South Sudan with support from UNDP, have set up functioning state revenue authorities with the capacity to collect, plan, monitor and report revenue, in an effort to put in place a more effective and efficient tax system to boost non-oil revenue.  As a result, all 10 states, with the other 5 states working through the State Ministries of Finance, have been able to boost revenue collection by more than 100 percent. .

Highlights

  • Revenue Collection Increased by percentage: - Northern Bhar el Ghazal (360) - Lakes (189) - Jonglei (128) - Central Equatoria (106) - Western Equatoria (100)
  • All ten states have been able to boost revenue collection by more than 100 percent
  • All ten states have completed annual workplans, budgets and appropriation bills with support from UNDP specialists embedded in the state ministries of finance

Investing in the Government’s capacity for planning and financial management, oversight and accountability puts in place a strong foundation for long term statebuilding, and now is even more urgent following austerity measures enacted after the nation’s oil shutdown in January 2012, which accounted for 98 percent of its revenue.

In partnership with the donor-supported Capacity Building Trust Fund and Tanzania’s Institute of Tax Administration, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has helped strengthen revenue collection systems and boost non-oil revenue.

Across all ten states UNDP has embedded planning, finance and revenue specialists who have supported the training of more than 490 accountants, revenue and planning officers in financial management, accounting, and development-focused planning, including an intensive three-week course on public financial management for personnel in the 79 county level planning units. A simplified computerised tax administration management system has been installed in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and 18 revenue officers were trained on how to enter, store and analyze data. Over 40 Revenue Authority and state Ministries of Finance staff where no formal Revenue Authorities have been established  have been conducting taxpayer education campaigns to raise awareness and provide public information on the new initiatives. The UNDP Revenue, Financial Management, Statistical and Planning Specialists supporting their Government counterparts have introduced legal frameworks, revenue collection guidelines, accounting procedures and have strengthened the financial management and planning at the state level.

For example, through these efforts Eastern Equatoria’s state revenues have grown. In 2009, the state collected SSP2.8 million. This increased by 178 percent to SSP7.9 million in 2010 and by 104 percent in 2011, bringing in SSP16.1 million to the state. The state’s revenue authority is building on this progress by strengthening its internal controls system, streamlining revenue collection by closing down unlawful collection centres, and is regularly monitoring progress and compliance. In Northern Bahr el Ghazal revenues increased from 2.5 million in 2010 to 10.3 million in 2011.

With the recent reforms to strengthen controls during austerity, the Government has centralized revenue collection. Through the Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfer Task Force headed by the central Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, state Ministers of Finance have been providing invaluable inputs on how to strengthen revenue collection and ensure that resources are re-allocated equitably in the interests of the development agenda and ensuring core functions of government are in place to meet the people’s very high expectations. 

Similar results have been seen across South Sudan.  In the states of  Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria - where revenue collection has increased by 106 percent, 128 percent, 189 percent, 360 percent and 100 percent respectively in the past year.  In addition all ten states have also completed annual workplans, budgets and appropriation bills with support from UNDP specialists embedded in the state ministries of finance.

These additional resources, as well as improved planning and financial management is critical for the state governments to become increasingly self-reliant, address the needs of their communities and manage limited resources, particularly during this period of austerity. To ensure that key state building blocks are still in place when the country emerges from austerity, UNDP has refocused its work with the national and sub-national authorities (state and county level) to build capacity in specific core functions including planning and financial management, oversight and accountability, conflict prevention and rule of law.

The Capacity Building Trust Fund is supported by Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

South Sudan became the world’s newest nation on 9 July 2011.