19 May 2021, Juba—Following two days of spirited discussions on the different roles and mandates of national, state, and local governments with concern to revenue collection, high-level attendees agreed upon several resolutions designed to strengthen collaboration and work towards building a fairer, more transparent tax system in South Sudan.
“We have seen a significant increase in non-oil revenue collection from various institutions and we are committed to exercise prudent management of our resources to improve our economy. This conference is crucial to get clarity on which taxes can be imposed by state and national entities. I urge those gathered to take the resolutions of this conference seriously to improve the lives of people in the country,” said H.E. Hussein Abdelbagi, South Sudan's Vice President for Service Cluster, formally closing the conference on 19 May.
Resolutions emanating from the NRA-State Governments Non-Oil Revenue Mobilization Conference included the following:
- Attendees committed to work in a collaborative manner to improve revenue collection a nd to put the interest of the people of South Sudan at the forefront of non-oil revenue mobilization efforts.
- The National Revenue Authority will support capacity building of revenue authorities at state level, as well as convene frequent working sessions on revenue collection.
- Delegates resolved to formally review the 2012 agreement between the State Government and the National Government particularly on the issue of collecting Personal Income Tax (PIT).
Hon. Africano Mande, Deputy Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority, closed the conference underscoring the NRA’s commitment to implement the agreed resolutions, particularly to support state-level governments build capacity, structures, and systems, that facilitate mainstreaming their own revenue collection efforts into the national digitization platform.
“The gains the NRA has made in the last six months did not come in a vacuum. The NRA took the resolutions coming forth from the Economic Working Group and the Council of Ministers and began implementing them in a responsible way. For example, we have introduced the e-tax platform to transition to digital tax collection for enhanced compliance. Seeing where data is collected in real-time creates accountability. These gains in digitalization, oversight, and accountability, were not done with the support of any donor, but rather done by us alone (the National Revenue Authority Solely),” said Hon. Africano Mande.
Minister of Federal Affairs Hon. Lasuba L. Wango urged state administrations to implement systems of accountability.
“In simple terms, this is the process to stop the practice of corruption and ensure the resources of South Sudan are used to address the needs of the people. When people see services reaching them, they will support tax revenue collection. No one is above the law, this is about the lives of the people of South Sudan,” said Hon. Wango
Minister of Finance and Planning Hon. Athian Ding Athian underlined the progress the country is making on fiscal reforms, and emphasized the need to diversify South Sudan’s revenue base:
“A consistent improvement in tax revenue mobilization is critical for the government to achieve our economic growth targets and get the economy back on track. The Ministry of Finance and Planning has already initiated the preparation of the national budget for the Fiscal Year 2021/2020. Preliminary forecast of the resource envelope for the fiscal year indicates a non-oil revenue component over 25 percent of total revenue. This is good progress compared to the past when oil was about 98 percent of our budget,” said Hon. Athian Ding Athian, Minister of Finance and Planning.
As part of the conference, UNDP Economic Advisor Ms. Fatmata Sesay delivered a session on integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into national and state development strategies. Prioritizing the SDGs can give focus to the practice of improved non-oil revenue mobilization, with the aim of funding public service delivery systems. Public budget allocations to social sectors in FY 2019/20 accounted for only 8 percent of South Sudan’s National Budget: 1 percent of public spending going to health, 5 percent to education and 2 percent to social and humanitarian affairs. The National Development Strategy aims to ensure that 15 percent of South Sudan’s National Budget is allocated to social services.
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