JUBA APRIL 4, 2017 (CISA) – The government of South Sudan has suspended plans to charge foreign workers a $10,000 work permit fee after criticism that it would penalize aid agencies.
“The Ministry of Finance acknowledges these significant issues … and steps are being taken to formulate the best way forward,” Finance Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau said in a news conference.
“The implementing agencies will continue with old rates charged,” he said, adding that parliament was expected to repeal the legislation that approved the fee hike.
The government last month announced that it will charge $10,000 for foreigners working in a “professional” capacity, $2,000 for “blue collar” employees and $1,000 for “casual workers” from March 1, the labour ministry said in a decree.
The government said the move was aimed at reducing the number of humanitarian workers. Foreign workers are currently required to pay $100 for a work permit; a figure which South Sudanese officials argued was one of the lowest in the region hence suggesting the 100-fold increase.
The fee hike however faced criticism with people saying that it would burden aid workers at a time when the country was most at need.
In February, the United Nations declared that parts of the country were experiencing famine. Nearly half the population, or about 5.5 million people, is expected to lack a reliable supply of food by July.