One year after independence: South Sudan boosts non-oil revenues with UN support

Sunday, July 08, 2012
Civil service support officers providing on-the-job training 
to their South Sudanese counterparts 
Geneva/Juba: The majority of South Sudan’s 10 states have boosted revenue collection by more than 100 percent after setting up functioning state revenue authorities with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

This is part of an effort to put in place a more effective and efficient national tax system to boost non-oil revenue, which is now more urgent following austerity measures enacted after the nation’s oil shutdown in January 2012, which accounted for 98 percent of its revenue.

In partnership with the donor-supported Capacity Building Trust Fund and Tanzania’s Institute of Tax Administration, UNDP has helped further strengthen these revenue collection systems.

Across all ten states UNDP has embedded finance and revenue specialists who have supported training for more than 490 local revenue and planning officers in financial management, accounting, and development-focused planning.

These experts have also introduced legal frameworks, revenue collection guidelines, accounting procedures and have strengthened the financial management and planning at the state level.

A simplified computerised tax administration system has been installed, and revenue officers were trained on how to enter, store and analyze data.

Revenue authority staff have also been conducting taxpayer education campaigns to raise awareness and provide public information on the new initiatives.

Through these efforts, for example, Eastern Equatoria’s state revenues have grown. In 2009, the state collected approximately USD 949,153. This increased by 178 percent to US$ 2.7 million in 2010 and by 104 percent in 2011, bringing in about US$ 5 million to the state.

Similar results have been seen across South Sudan.  In the states of Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Lakes, Northern Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria revenue collection has increased by 106 percent, 128 percent, 189 percent, 360 percent and 100 percent respectively in the past year. 

In addition all ten states have also completed annual workplans, budgets and appropriation bills with support from UNDP specialists embedded in the state ministries of finance.

With the Government’s recent move to strengthen financial controls during austerity and centralise revenue collection, state Finance Ministers are now using their new experience to advise on how to strengthen tax collection and ensure that resources are re-allocated equitably in line with current national priorities.

To ensure that key state building blocks are still in place when the country emerges from austerity, UNDP has refocused its work with the national and state authorities to build capacity in specific core functions including planning and financial management, oversight and accountability, conflict prevention and rule of law.

The Capacity Building Trust Fund is supported by Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

South Sudan became the world’s newest nation on 9 July 2011.
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