From left to right: UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen, H. E. Seiji Okada, the Ambassador of Japan, Gogrial State Governor Hon. Victor Atem Atem, Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority Dr. Olympio Attipoe.

 

Kuajok, 20 November 2018 – Gogrial State Governor Hon. Victor Atem Atem, along with the Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority Dr. Olympio Attipoe, H. E. Seiji Okada, the Ambassador of Japan, UNDP Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen and UNMISS Head of Kuajok Field Office Anastasie Mukangarambe officially inaugurated the Gogrial State Revenue Authority on Tuesday in Kuajok.

As of today, the Gogrial State Revenue Authority is operational and will serve as one of our state institutions. With the help of the newly formed board of the State Revenue Authority, there will be transparency and accountability in tax collection in our state. As the people and government of Gogrial State, we are thankful for the relentless and tremendous support of the Government and people of Japan, the African Development Bank, and UNDP,” said Gogrial State Governor Hon. Victor Atem Atem, during the ceremony held at the Gogrial State Ministry of Finance.

The Gogrial State Revenue Authority now becomes the fifth state revenue authority launched in South Sudan by the Support to Public Financial Management project, implemented by UNDP and funded by the Government of Japan and the African Development Bank. Gogrial follows Jubek, Aweil and Gbudue, where state revenue authorities were established in 2017, and Jonglei State Revenue Authority, which was inaugurated in Bor in October 2018. The Torit State Revenue Authority is expected to launch in early 2019.

The establishment of the Gogrial State Revenue Authority is a significant milestone for the state and its people. This launch comes at the right time, as the government of Gogrial State have worked hard to lay a foundation to work efficiently and use this support to improve revenue linkages among local authorities and local businesses. The initiative comes as there have been various state and local level peace initiatives underway. The state is ready and is waiting for further partnerships, such as inclusion in the Partnership for Recovery and Resilience. I extend deep gratitude to Japan for their support to this project, and several other projects they are supporting in Greater Warrap,” said UNMISS Head of Kuajok Field Office Anastasie Mukangarambe.

In October-November 2018, Gogrial State Legislative Assembly signed a harmonized State Revenue Authority Bill and the Tax and Non-Tax Bill into law, constituted the Revenue Authority governing board, and appointed a State Commissioner to manage the day-to-day administration of the Authority. The appointed board members recently attended a two-week training organized by UNDP in Juba to enhance leadership skills, and review the transparency and accountability requirements espoused in the governing frameworks.

The National Revenue Authority Commissioner General Olympio Attipoe attended the inauguration in Kuajok on Tuesday, and emphasized its integration and harmonization into a national, accountable tax revenue system.

We, at the national level, are working towards establishing one consolidated bank account for the National Revenue Authority, which will be independent from the Ministry of Finance. Each state will be encouraged to establish its own consolidated account, where each and every revenue collected will be deposited and which will be protected from making unauthorized withdrawals. Money will only be removed from these accounts according to clear and lawful practices, as approved by state and national legislative assemblies, and as the funds are allocated for state and national projects. We want to be able to share the exact figures collected, give reports and monitor and track allocations,” said Commissioner General Attipoe.

The Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome by government officials, business leaders, and the public at the festivities in Kuajok town.

The recent movement made in the peace process is a true achievement and I believe if people can enjoy peace, then we are embarking on a new phase for development in all areas of South Sudan. For states, now is the time to build a more solid foundation for all future activities they wish to do at the local level. To establish this foundation, the state revenue authority is essential, as revenues become the vehicle to drive services to harness the lives of people, such as health, education, and roads. Today, I am confident that the state of Gogrial is moving towards establishing a system which truly benefits the people while managing tax revenue accountability,” said H.E. Ambassador Okada.

UNDP’s Country Director Kamil Kamaluddeen thanked the Government of Gogrial State, the National Revenue Authority and the National Ministry of Finance and Planning for facilitating the latest milestone in public financial management for South Sudan. He further acknowledged the generous support of the Government of Japan and the African Development Bank as UNDP’s critical partners in the Support to Public Financial Management Project.

Domestic resource mobilization is a people-driven process and the state revenue authority is a people-driven institution. This is not about collecting more taxes but about ensuring that the institutions being established are responsible and accountable to the people. As states like Gogrial focus on establishing an enabling environment for recovery and resilience-building, domestic resources are essential for fulfilling the social contract between the government and the people they serve. Transparency is key, and these resources must be used in an equitable manner to benefit the people. Properly managed, these funds will support critical investments in education, health, agriculture, building roads and bridges and other urgent social services,” said Mr. Kamaluddeen while speaking directly to the public at the launch ceremony.

Strengthening institutional capacity and community resilience is a key pillar in UNDP’s support to South Sudan. Within the lens of reinvigorating local economies, a diversified state revenue base accompanied by harmonized state tax systems, will create fiscal space and more transparent utilization of public resources.

According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, over 90% of the government of South Sudan’s budget comes from oil. Inefficient revenue mobilization and administration systems intensify socioeconomic deprivation of the predominantly youthful population, and service delivery in critical sectors remains dependent on humanitarian and development organizations. Taxation and alternative revenue generation is therefore pivotal for recovery and resilience building, and a pathway to creating equity and alleviating poverty in South Sudan.

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For further information, please contact:

Kymberly Bays, UNDP Communications: +211920580239, kymberly.bays@undp.org

Hama Ayumi, Embassy of Japan in South Sudan: +211922671502, ayumi.hama@mofa.go.jp

 

 

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