Juba City Council accused of extorting traders

Juba City Council accused of extorting traders
Robert Pita Francis, Chairperson of CES Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (photo credit: Alex Bullen/The City Review)

The Chairperson of the Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce has accused the Juba City Council of extorting traders in the market by imposing unreasonable amounts of money in the name of fines.

Addressing the media at a press conference on Thursday, Robert Pitia Francis said Juba City Council is operating outside the bylaws of the chamber of the city council.

He said the number of fines and charges the municipal authorities levy on traders were not in line with its bylaws pointing that the act has caused some traders to close their shops while others increased prices of commodities in the market.

“The fines and charges of the City Council are becoming a problem to our own traders and foreign traders and it has created a scenario whereby some people are closing their shops when they see the City Council coming they start to close their shops and run away. This is not good,” said Pitia.

“And some people what they do is they increase prices in the market and automatically our people are the ones suffering,” Pitia added.

Pitia stated that the City Council charges an abnormal amount of money from the ordinary traders between 380,000 and 700,000 SSP, which is contrary to what the laws say.

He said the highest charges according to the bylaws of the Chamber of Juba City Council are for hotels, which is 75 SSP and others are from SSP50 below.

“I went through the bylaws, these are the bylaws of Chamber of Juba City Council. The highest charges are for the hotels 75 SSP only but other charges start from 50 down and now we have people being penalized or being charged 380, 200 and there is another one being charged 70,” he said.

“This is just looting, they are the ordinary traders and at the end of the day the traders increase prices and if prices are high it subjects our people to suffering. Our own local government, Juba City Council is contributing to prices in the market,” Pitia alleged.