Three hundred MSF staff strike over NSIF tax cut in Abyei.

More than three hundred Medicine San Frontiers’ staff in Abyei went on strike on Wednesday on the national social insurance tax cut.

An antagonistic strike occurred after staff received a document from the national labor office stipulating that they are to receive their salary indicating “TAX-FREE.”

According to the demonstrators, the National Revenue Authority, NRA, has implemented the policy taxing the national Social Insurance Fund (NSIF) after the staff contract ended with the organization.

The national staff viewed the new taxation policy as a day raiding strategy.

Daniel Reec Ador, head of protestors, said staffs would not go back to work till government, MSF office and teams on strike sit and find an amicable solution to the matter.”

Ador said their strike did not abandon people; the group has assigned some health personals to carryout medication in the hospital.

“We need to be convincing on the article that says that NSIF is subject to taxation. If we are shown the article, find, we don’t have any problem. We will receive this money and go back to work, but the labor office in Abyei should come and see what we can do and go back to work. This is after the government will tell us that it will follow the case.”

The field coordinator for Medicine San Frontiers, MSF, Mr. Ken Hagiwara declined to comment on the issue, which he said in the following interview.

“I cannot make any comment. Sorry sir, very sorry. I just am working on something, and I cannot comment on this. I cannot give you something, you know, some really, like unreliable information. I mean.”

The legal consultant and commissioner for Oath, Johnny Saverio Ayiik, says 58 of South Sudan Constitution National Revenue Authority can tax the payout National Social Insurance Fund. The reason is that NSIF is only taxed during the payout.

“That amount of eight percent which is deducted from each employee is not subjected to tax at the payment of the monthly salary because it is not yet an income into your pocket. So when you get it, and it comes to your pocket, this time now becomes income. Any income you received, that income is subjected to tax, and the government authority which is concerned and custodian of the implementation of the tax act is the national revenue authority.”

Saverio urges the protestors to avoid protesting against the employer but meet the National Revenue Authority as the concerned authority.

R-TGoNU criticizes of delay in government formation.

South Sudan Council of Church, Civil Society Forum, and Women’s Coalition for Peace have called the Unity government to end insecurity and reinstate peace.

Activists made a joint press statement to the media in Juba as a renewed push for the parties to “end bloodshed” in the country. 

Human rights activists slapped South Sudanese leaders for being reluctant by dragging backward the agreement’s implementation. 

The peace graduators include IGAD, AU, TROIKA, UN, Activists, and Faith-based group has noted that keys provisional of the agreement. The formation of a Unity government, the graduation of forces, and soldiers’ integration are yet to be implemented. 

Bishop Dr. Arkanjelo Wani Lem for the South Sudan Council of Church questioned South Sudanese leaders’ commitment to reconciling the nation. He said their group made several calls that encouraged leaders to move the agreement forward, but their voice was trashed. All their everyday needs “yielded any meaningful change to the ongoing crisis in the country.”

Bishop Wani acknowledged a decrease in military confrontation among forces to the parties. The church is deeply concerned about the general situation, which has not convincingly improved. 

The group has noted devastating intercommunal violence, displacement of civilians, sexual, gender-based violence, and unnecessary roadblock in some parts of the country. They say such unlawful behavior inflicting Pain on travelers and humanitarian workers.

“Bishop warned that “with this unbearable situation of human suffering. We are promoted to echo the people’s call for an end to violent conflict and insecurity, displacement of civilians, and insensitive creation of more orphans and widows. It is becoming more apparent to us each passing day that this is the most viable option to stability”.

Coordinator for South Sudan Civil Society Forum Caroline Kibas attributed the current insecurity threats caused by cattle raiders’ overall delay in establishing State government.

He believes the leadership vacuum in the state, counties, and Payams should end killing incidences.

“So, the first solution is to ensure that we move quickly to establish the government and make sure that we have leadership that can able to confront some of this inter-communal violence. The crucial aspect of the government, and that is the parliament”, Kibas explained. 

The government promised to reconstitute the parliament and form the state’s administration despite the delay attributed to Coronavirus. It said legislators’ screening has begun. The states nominees list will be submitting to the President for an appointment later this week.

President Salva Kiir announced to make the appointment of parliamentarians and state Ministers on February 15th, but that deadline passed yesterday. This week will mark one year since the Unity Government was formed, but parties have not yet completed their tasks. This creates fear that the Unity government could be extended at the end of the Transitional period.

Government spokesperson denial claims to extends the Transitional Period beyond three years deadline stated in the peace agreement. Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said the country is hoping to go toward the election in two-year time. 

“We’re working hard to ensure we go for election in time; there is no question of extension. If others are talking about an extension, the R-TGoNU is not a party to that plan.”

South Sudanese civil societies were part of negotiators ad signatories to the Revitalized Peace Agreement signed on September 12th, 2018.