News / Africa

South Sudan Women Jailed for Not Paying $7 Tax

The South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal has imposed a household tax to make up for lost revenues after oil production was shut down last year. (Reuters)The South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal has imposed a household tax to make up for lost revenues after oil production was shut down last year. (Reuters)
x
The South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal has imposed a household tax to make up for lost revenues after oil production was shut down last year. (Reuters)
The South Sudanese state of Northern Bahr el Ghazal has imposed a household tax to make up for lost revenues after oil production was shut down last year. (Reuters)
Hou Akot Hou
Five South Sudanese women, including a widow with small children, were jailed this week in Aweil East after they failed to pay a state household tax of 30 South Sudanese pounds (7 U.S. dollars), and two local chiefs have been relieved of their duties after refusing to collect the tax.

One of the women, Nyirou Mou, 30, has been in jail since Tuesday and says she doesn't have enough money to pay the annual tax that the state assembly in Northern Bahr el Ghazal introduced in January. Residents were given until this month to pay the tax. 

“I don’t have anywhere where I can get the money for taxes. My children are small. They can’t do any work, such as cultivating gardens. My husband died and there is no one taking care of my kids except me. Where can I get the money from?” she asked.

The average annual income among South Sudanese is around $3.50 US a day.  

Mou said she has been told she will only be released when someone brings the money she owes to the police station.

Aweil East Commissioner Awet Kiir Awet said two chiefs were suspended for refusing to collect the tax in areas they are responsible for.

Northern Bahr el Gazal’s Finance Minister Madut Santino Deng said the tax was imposed to fill a revenue gap after the South Sudanese government cut off oil production last year, amid a dispute with Khartoum over fees to carry crude from oil-rich South Sudan through pipelines in Sudan. 

According to the World Bank, South Sudan is the most oil-dependent nation in the world, with crude accounting for nearly all of the country's exports and 80 percent of gross domestic product.

Although oil production has restarted, Deng said state governments are not expecting to see revenues from the key resource for several months.

“We have to implement this household tax to back-up our budget," Deng said.

"The household tax is benefiting the counties, because counties will take 60 percent from that tax," he said, adding that counties can choose how to allocate the household tax revenues.

Residents have complained that they have not seen improvements to services since they started paying the new tax, but Awet said the revenues will not be disbursed to counties until all of the money has been collected.

He also warned that police officers will continue to arrest residents who refuse to pay the tax.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. from: Philadelphia, PA, USA
April 21, 2013 12:09 AM
The most humane thing that South Sudan can do is to make the household tax temporary. When the oil production has returned
into full production, the tax should be discontinued. When this is done, the poor South Sudanese will be able to live without worry.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More