South Sudan picks Tanzanian to head it’s tax body

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By Radio Tamazuj

A Tanzanian national, Dr. Patrick Mugoya, has been appointed the new Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) by the government of South Sudan.

Addressing the media in Juba on Tuesday morning after signing his contract, Dr. Patrick Mugoya said he will develop a strategic plan that will enable the transparent and accountable collection of non-oil revenues.

“As you just witnessed, we have just concluded the signing of my contract as the new Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority. I am supposed to hit the ground running. Three things: First, we will fully operationalize the National Revenue Authority. We will immediately take measures to make sure that the NRA is fully operational,” Dr. Mugoya said.

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“That is the first thing. Secondly, we will ensure the NRA formulates or develops in a participatory manner with all key stakeholders a strategic plan for the Authority that will see to it that non-oil revenue mobilization is enhanced in a transparent, efficient effective, and accountable manner.”

Dr. Mugoya said that as all this is being done, they will make sure that revenue collection is not disrupted, “We will put into place all these measures while at the same time sealing loopholes and revenue leakages in terms of tax evasions, unscrupulous exemptions, tax avoidance, smuggling and the like, as immediate measures.”

He promised that in the long term and the medium term, they are going to develop a plan that will bring together all the stakeholders.

“That means the employees, the staff, the management of the Revenue Authority, the board, the government at national and state levels, development partners, the private sector, civil society organizations and others in coming up with a plan that will take National Revenue Authority forward and therefore bring meaningful change as envisaged in the non-oil revenue and mobilization and accountability program,” Dr. Mugoya said.

The First Undersecretary in the finance ministry, Garang Majak expressed hopes that the new NRA Commissioner General and his team will generate revenue to boost South Sudan’s weak economy.

“We know very well that we are facing a lot of economic challenges but with the new team, the new CG [Commissioner General] and the Deputy Commissioner of the NRA, Honorable Africano Mande, they will make sure that sufficient and effective mechanisms are designed to collect sufficient revenues to make sure we prioritize our financial obligations, our financial services to the government and the people of South Sudan,” Garang Majak said. “This is to ensure sufficient financial revenues to finance our national budget.”

Garang Majak said South Sudan is in an economic bind that can be overcome if all revenue is collected in the country and utilized efficiently to pay salaries, operations of the government, and also for developmental expenditure.

“So with the new team, and the new minister of finance, we will be able to finance our government obligations,” Garang Majak said. “At this juncture, the ministry of finance will ensure that all salaries are paid on time and operations for the spending agencies are also paid on time.”

The First Undersecretary called on development partners to support South Sudan in revenue mobilization collection, in training staff, and also to support in making sure the finance ministry has the capacity in delivering services to the people of South Sudan.

The NRA was established as one of the measures to reduce dependency on oil revenues, strengthen the non-oil revenue sector, and strengthen expenditure control required to achieve short-term fiscal austerity objectives.

Established in 2018, the NRA is mandated to assess, collect, manage, and enforce laws relating to taxation and revenue generation.

A Single Treasury Account, where all government revenues are supposed to be collected, was opened and became operational in December 2018.

Before this, tax collections were diverted into accounts that were opened and managed by some senior government officials.

Dr. Mugoya will be deputized by Brigadier Africano Mande Gedima who served as the immediate former governor of the now-defunct Maridi State.

The nascent tax body has been rocked by upheavals which saw the firing and investigation of the former CG, Dr. Olympio Attipoe, a Ghanaian national by the former finance minister, Salvatore Garang.

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