War-torn South Sudan suspends work permits fee following International pressure

In an effort to fight economic crisis, S Sudan last month increased work permit fees from 400 U.S dollars to 10,000 dollars for professional/business class, blue collar jobs to 2,000 dollars and casual laborers 1,000 dollars.

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Finance minister, Stephen Dhieu Dau on Saturday told reporters that the suspension would allow the government to review the country's financial laws and come up with a fee moderate to the East African region.

"What we are doing should be consistent with the region. So we should not be seen collecting less or imposing higher," Dau said.

The suspension comes after an outcry from humanitarian agencies who described the increment as way of restricting work of foreign aid workers in the war-torn nation.

Hundreds of foreign workers who offer humanitarian services at Africa’s youngest nation hail from neighboring countries like Kenya and Uganda etc. Humanitarian agencies had therefore expressed fear that these workers would be locked out from carrying out their daily services if not targeted for prosecutions, grinding their crucial services to a halt and sinking war-torn S Sudan into even deeper conflict.

The minister assured the proposed work permit fees for foreign workers would not go beyond 5,000 U.S. dollars, adding that the government will also consider reducing taxes on pharmaceutical products from the current 5 percent to 2 percent and agricultural inputs from 10 percent to 5 percent in a bid to reduce prices of medicine and food.

The East African nation is currently struggling with hyperinflation amid shortage of foreign reserves to support imports. 98 percent of its budget comes from oil revenue but civil conflicts since 2013 have caused most oilfields in the country's northern Upper Nile region to shut down as production fell to below 130,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 350,000 bpd.

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