South Sudanese Business Community Conference facilitated by the National Dialogue Leadership on 21st & 22nd November 2019
On the first day,
- We heard from the Co-Chair and the Rapporteur of the National Dialogue leadership about the consultation processes undertaken from grassroots, the regional conferences, the political parties’ conference and most recently the religious leadership conference. These consultations resulted in the production of the documents of the National Dialogue which were distributed to them yesterday based on what the people have spoken.
- The Co-Chair also discussed the principles of independence, transparency and inclusivity as some of the requirements of a credible national dialogue process. For these reasons, various structures, interest groups and individuals participated in the deliberations candidly and frankly without fear for reprisal from all organs of the government so that the outcomes of the National Dialogue are true reflections of the aspirations of our people.
- The Master of Ceremonies walked the participants through two days agenda of the conference.
Then we heard the following high level response from the leaders of the Business Community:
- Without the attainment of peace in our country, there will be no business in South Sudan.
- Without the implementation and enforcement of the laws of this country, there will be no business development in South Sudan.
- Without security in South Sudan, there will be no business in this country.
- There is very high taxation imposed on the essential commodities that the private sector brings to the country. This high tax stems from the fact that there are so many checkpoints and that are stationed along the highways and rivers in the country where various security organs of the government collect taxes. The identified culprits include: the Army, the Police, CID, National Revenue Authority, State, County, Payam and Boma Administrations-all collect taxes along different routes in the country thereby resulting in the bloating of prices in the market.
- Private sector should remain private and government officials including Ministers and Generals must desist from transacting business as that is a serious violation of the law.
- As the economy of South Sudan is dominated by foreigners, the business leaders call on the government to stop awarding contracts to foreigners and start giving such contracts to local companies. Otherwise, we will be slaves in a country we have fought for to liberate ourselves from slavery in the first place.
- There is a lot of interference into the private sector from the government agents and this should stop immediately.
- The National Banks in South Sudan are denied business or discriminated by the International NGOs who favour foreign banks in the country.
- The private sector discussed the importance of building highways and feeder roads in the country so that production sites are connected to the markets.
- The business sector demand to be represented in both the National and State Legislative Assemblies so that their interest is safeguarded.
- The Bureau of Standards should be empowered to inspect food stuff, medicine and other goods that are delivered to this country to ensure that they are safe for consumption by our people.
- There should be regional balance in awarding of contracts and 35% of contracts should be awarded to women in accordance with our laws.
- The private sector encourages local production of food and other essentials so that the value of South Sudan Pound can improve against the US dollar.
- The South Sudanese business leaders call for cooperation among themselves rather than competition to bring each other down.
- The Business community leaders express their desire to continue to dialogue among themselves in order to address the problems affecting our economy as hunger is looming in the country.
- And finally, the business leaders call for implementation of these recommendations.
21st November 2019 12:00 am – 22nd November 2019
Freedom Hall, Juba.