Juba City Council pledges to reduce taxes on traders

Juba City Council pledges to reduce taxes on traders
Simon Pitia, Deputy Mayor for Finance and Planning (C) speaks to journalists during a press conference (photo credit: Alex Bullen/The City Review)

Juba City Council has promised to reduce high taxes on businesses following growing complaints from traders.

In recent months, the members of the business community operating in Juba have accused the council of imposing excessive taxes on them, saying a huge chunk of their profits goes into paying taxes.

Addressing the traders at the custom market, Thiik Thiik Mayardit, Juba City Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure and Development, acknowledged the traders’ complaints, saying the authorities were aware of the issue.

However, he blamed some “corrupt” individuals within the Juba City Council for coming up with exorbitant charges that are denying the traders profits.

Addressing the issue

“My people, let me be clear that this is an institution, and in any institution, it is like someone having many kits at home, you can have 10 kits and not all of them be good; there must be one or two among those kits that are bad.

“So, here, not all institutions of the Juba City Council are bad people or corrupted, but there are some individuals themselves doing that,’’ he revealed.

He conceded that over-taxation was a serious problem within Juba and that it needed to be addressed.

“To be honest, on the issue of over-taxation of businesspersons by the Juba City Council, I have accepted it. I do not deny it. Yes, it is true that there is higher taxation on traders, ” he disclosed.

Thiik apologised to the public and urged the people, especially traders, to be patient as authorities worked hard to address the issues.

“On behalf of Juba City Council, I apologise through media houses here that please, an institution is an institution and we are apologising because we are leaders and for anything that has happened.

“If there is any mismanagement, which our people find to be unlawful, let me apologize again to the people of South Sudan that we are going to correct the mistakes very soon and later.”

He called on business people to be careful lest they be cheated and encouraged them to take note of such extortionists and report them to the authorities.

However, Thiik urged the traders to get copies of the bylaws so that they could avoid being over-taxed by so-called corrupt officials within tax collector institutions.

Solomon Pitia, Juba City Council Deputy Mayor for Finance and Planning, also reiterated that they are working hard to reduce the high taxes on traders to enable them to earn a good profit.

“We understand you people have been taxed highly, but take it from me as acting Mayor of the Juba City Council that we are going to make sure that the high taxes are reduced,” Mr Pitia

“You South Sudanese, you have been in war, so you have no capital. Therefore, we need to encourage you to compete with the foreigners.”

He said a lack of capital was one of the reasons the local businesses could not compete with those established by foreigners.

Mr Pitia urged traders to forgive and forget what had happened in order to build good relations with the Juba City Council.

“We are taking the taxes from you not only to benefit ourselves but also to provide you with some services. So let us work together. If some of you have issues with the city council, please forget about it and let us move on with our business,” he persuaded. 

Pitia called on business people to continue paying taxes according to the law of the country, arguing that in every society, a good citizen pays taxes to the government.