Home | News    Wednesday 19 October 2011

NBG state governor orders closure of illegal check points

By Julius N. Uma

18 October 2011 (JUBA) - The governor of South Sudan’s Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBG) state has ordered the immediate closure of unauthorised checkpoints within the state and cautioned law enforcement agents against illegal tax collection.

Paul Malong Awan’s remarks came in the wake of continuous complaints from the state’s business community, which heavily relies on locally-generated revenue to boost the economy.

The state government, Awan said, has only designated three legal checkpoints throughout the state, to be manned by authorised personnel.

The governor’s directive coincides with last week’s official launch of the state revenue authority’s integrated tax management system; an initiative part of NBG’s tax reform project supported by the joint donor team’s capacity building trust fund.

The system, developed in line with both the State Revenue Act 2011 and the Income Tax Act 2011, was implemented by SyncNet Computer Systems Limited, a Kenyan-based company.

Comprising of a menu driven accessory, multi-level security transaction approval, an extensive audit trail, flexible and expandable software, the newly established initiative is expected to deliver a sustainable tax modernisation system.

An unexpected atmosphere of euphoria pervaded, as state and national government officials, lawmakers, a host of development partners, and hundreds of citizens all turned up to witness the unveiling of the new system.

In his remarks during the launch, Mareng Chor, the state revenue authority commissioner said he remains optimistic that the new system, if well utilised, will greatly improve revenue generation in the state.

“It is envisaged that the ITMS [integrated tax management system] will improve revenue collection through sealing of revenue loopholes, ease the taxpayer registration exercise and maintain on monitor taxpayers’ data,” the commissioner said.

He further added that the same system will assist the revenue body assess volumes of revenue collected, improve governance and monitoring around the collected revenue and help in state revenue planning.

Agnes Comfort, the public sector advisor at the joint donor team lauded the state government for its strong political will to embrace the tax management system. The capacity building trust fund, she revealed, currently provides support to key priority sectors in each of the 10 states of South Sudan.

The fund supports a variety of government initiatives related to strengthening public administration, with contributions from donor countries such as Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, implementation of the state tax modernisation project, Sudan Tribune understands, reaches a total of approximately SSP 888,400 (about $300,000).