Concerns Arise Over Humanitarian Aid Taxes in South Sudan

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South Sudan

In South Sudan, ongoing concerns persist among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) regarding taxes imposed on humanitarian aid by the authorities. Despite the South Sudanese government agreeing on May 3rd to exempt humanitarian organizations from these taxes, they continue to be enforced for their subcontractors. This measure threatens to impede humanitarian assistance in a country where, according to the United Nations, 9 million people require aid.

The newly imposed taxes encompass fuel, security escorts, and electronic tracking of freight. According to the South Sudanese Minister of Finance, the situation is unequivocal. The subcontractors of NGOs are deemed “for-profit private companies,” as stated in a press release. Therefore, there is no justification for exempting them from taxes. The Minister cites the agreement signed between the South Sudanese government and the United Nations, a prerequisite for deploying their mission on the ground, UNMISS, as evidence.

Suspension of Aid Deliveries

This new fiscal policy has led to the suspension of humanitarian aid deliveries by air by the United Nations. According to OCHA (the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), this has deprived nearly 60,000 people of food aid in March alone. As of now, no resumption date has been announced.

“We need clarity on the matter,” confides a close associate of the United Nations Representative for South Sudan. According to the UN, the new taxes have incurred an additional cost of $339,000 per month for UNMISS. The amount for subcontractors has not been disclosed.


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