South Sudan, EAC Members Reach Customs, Visa Agreements
South Sudan has reached agreements with East African Community (EAC) member states Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to standardize customs duties and waive visa fees, officials said at a summit meeting in Kigali this week.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said he hopes the agreement will lead to South Sudan being accepted into the EAC, a regional economic organization in sub-Saharan Africa that has made strides in recent years toward integrating the economies of its member states, which also include Burundi and Tanzania.
The EAC has established a free trade area and a customs union, and is working toward a common market.
South Sudan’s application to join the regional organization is due to be discussed in November at an EAC meeting in Arusha, Tanzania. - Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
Streamline Taxes to Attract Investors, S. Sudan Business Leaders Say
South Sudanese business leaders called at a two-day forum in Juba for the government to take steps to improve the business climate in the country and attract investors.
“There are immense challenges, starting from the infrastructure... But basically right now our immediate challenges are to do with tax policies. We need to streamline our tax policies," said Simon Akuei-Eng, secretary general of the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce.
Business owners have difficulties determining how much tax they need to pay to the central government. Paying the wrong amount leaves them open to unexpected fees and penalties.
The forum gathered more than 50 business leaders and government officials, including Vice President James Wani Igga, in a hotel in Juba for the forum organized by the South Sudan Business Forum. Key items on the agenda were tax reforms, insecurity and lack of access to loans for small business owners.
Wani said the government is committed to fighting "all forms of insecurity" as well as corruption.
Deputy Finance Minister Mary Jarvis Yak, who was also at the meeting, said the government "will continue to implement positive interventions to improve South Sudan’s business climate so as to truly undergo structural changes for economic transformation." - Lucy Poni