Africa

“South Sudan Reverses Humanitarian Aid Tax Policy: UN Appeals and Stakeholder Responses”

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  • “We urge all parties involved to resolve this matter promptly so that fuel and other essential items can continue to be supplied for the benefit of the South Sudanese people, and so that the humanitarian community and the UN can persist in their life-saving and peacekeeping endeavors,” Olkkonen stated.
  • In a notable policy shift, the government of South Sudan has responded to a plea from the UN and reversed its decision to impose taxes and charges on humanitarian services and goods.

In a notable policy shift, the government of South Sudan has responded to a plea from the UN and reversed its decision to impose taxes and charges on humanitarian services and goods.

However, Titus Osundina, the deputy resident representative for South Sudan at the UN Development Program, informed VOA that uncertainties persist as some private suppliers and firms serving the UN might still be subject to taxation.

“We need further clarification on this matter,” Osundina remarked.

The Finance minister of South Sudan elaborated in a press statement that although UN humanitarian organizations and diplomatic missions are exempt from taxes, companies contracted by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) are not exempt because they are considered “profit-making entities” and are liable to taxation as per the original agreement signed between the mission and South Sudan.

As the largest humanitarian agency operating in South Sudan, the United Nations conducts vital air deliveries, providing sustenance to over 16,300 individuals each month, particularly in areas facing food insecurity, conflict, and natural calamities.

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With nearly half of the country’s population experiencing severe food shortages and the imminent risk of floods, the UN emphasized that the introduction of new taxes would have increased the monthly operational costs of UNMISS by $339,000, impacting food and humanitarian aid operations.

No specific figures have been disclosed regarding the potential costs of the new taxes for UN contractors. Timo Olkkonen, who leads the European Union delegation to South Sudan, a significant international donor to the nation, stressed that agencies require adequate time and resources to organize and deliver relief assistance.

“We urge all parties involved to resolve this matter promptly so that fuel and other essential items can continue to be supplied for the benefit of the South Sudanese people, and so that the humanitarian community and the UN can persist in their life-saving and peacekeeping endeavors,” Olkkonen stated.

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