todayJune 15, 2024

By Godwin Abedican


The South Sudanese fish exporters and traders in Arua central market are threatening to quit doing business in central division citing exorbitant and forced taxes on them.

The traders under their umbrella body Leudier and Goi Fish Traders Union indicted in a protest later dated 21st May 2024 addressed to the management of BETAI  Enterprises limited, a private entity contracted by central division to collect revenue from the traders while replying to a letter addressed to bulk fish dealers from south Sudan informing them of a tax increment from thirty thousand (30,000) to fifty thousand (50,000) shillings to be implemented from 1st June 2024, that they are not willing to abide by any new taxes.

Speaking to the media, Tony Mathew, the chairperson Leudier and Goi fish traders union says this is forcing them to seek alternative routes and markets for their fish “Some local leaders in central division had already said they don’t care of our existence in the market. That if we don’t accept the increment of their payment of the market dues, we are free to go where we want to go. The expenses on us are too much, right from the borders of entry to Arua city. As per now we cease the offloading of fish in Arua central market and central division if they are not ready to reverse their decisions of wanting to increase the taxes. It doesn’t mater fish can enter any market,” Tony Said in anger.

Matata Denis, one of the traders in the central market associates this to the introduction of a third party as revenuer collector in the market “Before the contract was awarded to BETAI Company to collect revenue, we were moving on well with the council. If they have failed to meet their target they promised to the division as per their contract, let them return the contract and say they are defeated instead of forcing things on us,” Matata said.

The South Sudanese fish exporters currently employ hundreds of women in the market as traders whom they pay fifty thousand shilling per bundle of fish sold. Oyeru Joyce, who has been a vender in the market for the last 16 years regrets that any decision by the suppliers to withdraw spells doom for them “What will these people get? The tax must remain at thirty thousand. We are going to get loses and without these people we are not going to survive in the business. Oyeru stressed bitterly.

However, Drakuma Malik, the town Clerk Arua Central Division, denies forcing traders to abide by the new tax rates saying they were considerate in coming up with the decision “The council constituted a committee that talked to the traders and the public. Compare this to the one hundred thousand they were paying in 2022, we considered their complaints that tine and reduced to sixty thousand before coming to thirty thousand. Due to the challenges we are facing we felt there is need to revise the taxes that’s why the decision came. Drakuma explained.

The traders are pondering shifting to either Ayivu division or Madi Okolo district if the division maintains their status quo on raising the taxes. Currently when a truck enters the market, contractor collets one million eight hundred eighty thousand (1,880,000) shillings per truck, the suppliers pay the vendors fifty thousand (50,000) shillings per bundle of fish sold, brokers are paid fifty thousand (50,000) shillings for offloading, the fisheries department collects eighty thousand (80,000) shillings per truck and ten thousand (10,000) shillings per bundle of Tilapia.

COVER PHOTO: Some of the fish traders in the market who sell fish for the South Sudanese fish  transporters By Godwin Abedican

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