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South Sudan’s N. Bahr el Ghazal state establishes new tax management system

By Julius N. Uma

August 16, 2011 (AWEIL) - Northern Bahr el Ghazal state in Sudan has established a state of-the-art integrated tax management system, as part of its government’s effort to foster the effective implementation of tax reforms, Sudan Tribune has learned.

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Chour Deng Mareng, the Commissioner General for Northern Bahr el Ghazal state revenue authority, August 16, 2011 (ST)

The system, which will officially be launched next month is said to be a component of the state revenue authority’s mandate to enhance local revenue mobilization through development of the necessary statutory laws and regulations.

Established in May 2010 as a semi-autonomous body, Northern Bahr el Ghazal’s state revenue authority is mainly tasked with collecting taxes and ensuring that rules and regulations governing taxpayers are fully put in place.

In an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune, Chour Deng Mareng, the commissioner general for the state revenue authority lauded the state government for its timely fiscal reform program aimed at improving finances and strengthening the state economy.

As part of these reforms, he said, the government passed the state revenue act, income tax act and business profit tax. A tax procedure bill was also put in place to ensure the effective implementation of these laws.

“The state government under the leadership of Lt. Gen Paul Malong Awan strongly believes that good fiscal management and accountability are essential [...] for economic prosperity especially when tax payers’ rights are taken into consideration,” Mareng said.

Currently, the commissioner general added, plans are underway to improve state revenue collections, through creation of more public awareness on the importance of tax payment, capacity building for staff involved in state revenue work, as well as the establishment of a computerised system of tax handling.

“We have started public education programmes as mechanisms for creating awareness among the population. In addition, we believe such programmes will effectively bridge the gap between state policy makers and tax payers,” he emphasized.

Mareng however cited interference from various sectors within the state as one of the major setback to the effective implementation of the state reform programme. He urged all stakeholders to collectively join hands in promoting the state’s economic development.

With a population estimated to be nearly two million, Northern Bahr el Ghazal recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Western Bahr el Ghazal as a way of avoiding double taxation between the neighboring states.

According to Mareng, the agreement was effected to not only ensure good relations, but further enforce the law stipulating the taxing of goods at final destinations.

Meanwhile, temporary tax collections committees have reportedly been established to oversee manual tax collection ahead of the highly anticipated integrated tax management systems. The system, estimated at $300 million was part of the joint donor team’s capacity building trust fund.

(ST)