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South Sudanese women blamed for ignorance of beneficial cross border trade regimes

A file photo of a South Sudanese women selling vegetable as a means of economic empowerment

By Simon Deng

Most South Sudanese women working in the cross-border trade sector are ignorant of a new trade regime that exempts goods less that $2000 from taxation, Finella Ayam, the technical advisor for South Sudan Women Entrepreneurs Association, said.

Thousands of South Sudanese women are engaging in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) businesses across several borders including with Uganda, Kenya, Dr Congo and Sudan.

“Most of our women do not even know the simplified trade regimes that we are doing across the three borders, for example any woman crossing the East African border, Juba Nimule border, Nadapal, Kaya, if you find goods less than 2000 US dollars, you are not supposed to pay anything, the tax authorities are supposed to clear you, you move with your goods,” Ayam said during the launch of the South Sudan Economic Monitor under the theme “Towards Job agenda” organized by World Bank group on Wednesday at the University of Juba.

“There are a lot of things happening and our women are not aware,” she said.

Under the Trademark East African Program, women are being helped to understand their businesses and spur profitability.

The program seeks to increase the capacity of women to participate in trade while reducing their vulnerability to exploitation and improve livelihoods for women traders and women-owned enterprises through capacity building and addressing trade barriers.

Ayam said that South Sudan women entrepreneurs have so far formed three cross border associations in Nimule, Nadapal and Kaya, noting that the associations work closely with Revenue Authority, the Bureau of Standards and the gender desk office in Nimule border.

“But then our women get manipulated by our own people especially those in uniform, as they are crossing with their goods, they are diverted, they take money from them,” she said.

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