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South Sudan is scrapping newly introduced taxes that led to the suspension of UN food drops

JUNA, South Sudan – Following a United Nations appeal, South Sudan removed recently imposed penalties Steer and charges that led to the suspension of the UN Eat Air drops. Thousands of people in the country are dependent on outside help.

Earlier this week, the United Nations called on South Sudanese authorities to scrap new taxes introduced in February. The measures affected electronic cargo tracking fees, security escort fees and fuel fees.

In its announcement Friday, the government said it would maintain fees for services provided by firms contracted by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.

“These companies benefit… (and) are subject to the applicable tax,” Finance Minister Awow Daniel Chuang said.

There was no immediate comment from the UN on when airdrops might resume.

Previously, the UN humanitarian affairs agency said the suspension of airdrops in March left 60,000 people living in areas inaccessible by road deprived of urgently needed food, and that number was expected to rise to 135,000 by the end of May become.

The United Nations said the new measures increased the mission’s monthly operating costs to $339,000. UN aerial food drops feed over 16,300 people every month.

At the United Nations in New York, U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the taxes and duties would also affect the nearly 20,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, “which reviews all its activities, including patrols, the construction of police stations, schools and Healthcare centers and educational support.”

According to the United Nations, an estimated 9 out of 12.5 million people in South Sudan are in need of protection and humanitarian assistance. The country also saw a further increase in the number of people fleeing war in neighboring Sudan between rival military and paramilitary forces, complicating humanitarian assistance to those affected by the internal conflict.

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