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South Sudan, Uganda visa waivers a boost amid COVID-19 restrictions

By Okech Francis

South Sudan has responded in kind to Uganda’s visa waiver for its citizens, stopping collection of the same from the southern neighbour’s nationals accessing its entry points.

The waiver comes at a time when movement has been restricted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and its seen as a morale boost to travellers and cross border businesses.

“Such decisions help to encourage the low spirits of the people who have to go through a lot of bureaucratic moves at the entry points,” Peter Kitanga, a Ugandan businessman in Juba told Juba Echo by phone.

“It’s in line with the spirit of the East African cooperation but also a good ploy to lure people already demoralised by the high cost of travel back to business,” Kitanga said.

“It’s billed to be very beneficial to everyone.”

Uganda announced last month that from October 1, it would no longer levy visa fees on South Sudanese nationals entering Uganda.

South Sudan too announced a similar move saying beginning October 4, all Uganda nationals with valid passports will access the country visa free.

“In the principle of reciprocity, the government of the Republic of South Sudan today has directed the Ministry of Interior through the Directorate of Nationality, Passport and Immigration to waive visa entry requirements for Ugandan citizens holding valid passports issued by the government of the republic of Uganda with effect from Monday, October 4th, 2021,” South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on October 1.

“All entry and exit points including our missions and embassies abroad are directed to comply with the directive,” the Ministry said.

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