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South Sudan urged to remove new charges impacting the delivery of humanitarian assistance

The transitional unity government needs to urgently remove the recently imposed taxes and charges on humanitarian agencies, to allow them reach more than 60,000 people in dire need of assistance.

Anita Kiki Gbeho, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, in a statement issued on Sunday in Juba, urged action by the government on these assurances to prevent humanitarian operations by the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from coming to a standstill.

She said humanitarian agencies have paused life-saving airdrops of food assistance as fuel runs low, adding that the number of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance will increase to 145,000 by the end of May, should the measures remain in place.

“We have already had to pause airdrops, which is impacting families in the hardest-to-reach locations within the context of already pared-back humanitarian operations. We call on the government of South Sudan to uphold all agreements with humanitarians, including our NGO partners, and immediately remove new taxes and fees so that we can continue to support people in need,” said Gbeho.

Since February, the government of South Sudan has imposed a series of new taxes and charges at border crossings and in the country. Although the Government has assured that these taxes will be removed, there has been no written commitment to date.

These measures would add US$339,000 monthly to the cost of food assistance and the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) operations. This is enough to feed over 16,300 people for a month.

“It is vital that our limited funds are spent on saving lives and not bureaucratic impediments,” said Gbeho.

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