Disruption of Uganda-South Sudan road a “disaster” for tax revenue: officials
November 11, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan officials say the partial closure of highway connecting Uganda with South Sudan is “a disaster for the economy” following a tour of the damaged portion of the road on Friday.
“The traffic has become very, very low and vehicles got stuck and there is a lot of water, potholes in that area and the situation of the road is not good,” Lt. Col. Emmanuel Guya Simon, the head of customs at Nimule station said.
The road between Uganda towns’ of Bibia and Elegu was submerged by floods in October, the fifth time this year, leaving thousands of trucks loaded with commercial goods destined for South Sudan stranded.
Witnesses say a queue of trucks have covered a distance of 30 kilometers from Elegu near Nimule towards Atiak, a town on the highway to Gulu in Uganda.
“It is really a very big blow. This month of November, we shall have very minimum collection of revenue and this shall affect us as a government in terms of revenue [collection],” Guya added in a press address.
Undersecretary of commerce and trade in South Sudan’s ministry of finance, Simon Nyang Anei, said Friday that he had to visit the area to witness the situation.
Currently, customs officials say less than 10 trucks enter South Sudan daily through Nimule, compared to more than 200 when the traffic was normal.
“This is a disaster for us concerning the revenue,” said Anei, adding that “We advised traders to take the route through Kaya because this is going to take three to four weeks to repair”.
Traders importing cows, goats and chickens have had to move on foot with their animals to Nimule, where they find other transport means to Juba.
South Sudan relies largely on imports for its food, fuels and building material. Officials estimate that 80% of all imports to South Sudan pass through Nimule, the only paved road connecting Uganda to Juba.