March 22, 2017 (BOR) -The sudden increase in the fees related to visas, national identification cards, passports and work permits have attracted outcry from both foreigners and nationals in South Sudan’s Jonglei state.
- A South Sudanese passport (VOA/Karim Zeitvogel)
The criticism followed announcements by the passport, nationality and immigration office in Jonglei that these costs had increased by over 50%
Gai Ajok, the state director in the office of passport, nationality and immigration saidl ID has increased from SSP 45 to 630 and a regular passport from SSP315 to 4,410.
Other documents including business passport went up to SSP7,000, minor passport is now at SSP3,010, diplomatic password is at SSP7,000, Official Passport is at SSP14,000. Traveling document is SSP350 and a special passport now at SSP4,000.
He explained the increase was caused by the economic crisis in the country.
“Because of the economic crisis, the fuel prices had increased and we cannot stop issuing national IDs to our citizens, so we had to increase the fees so that we buy diesel or fuel to run our generators so that work will not stop”, Ajak said.
However, for foreigners living in South Sudan, this will be a big blow as they will not afford to pay $50 fees needed to keep their visa active each month as a requirement.
Arthur Njenga, a foreigner living and working in the state capital, Bor as a trader said most of the foreigners who are running businesses in the country will be forced to leave the country because of this, saying the government had taken a wrong decision as a means of increase revenue, which he says would not work.
“Kenyan and Ugandans can pay $50 as visa fees every month, but for Sudanese and other foreign nationals, they will be paying $100 every month. For the foreigners who are here, raising fifty dollars every month is not going to be easy and the economy is affecting both the locals and the foreigners, so we are suffering together. So, what might happen is that some foreigners may decide to pack and go”, said Njenga.
He said new fees structures shocked many of them when it was officially announced.
“That news got me as a surprise last week, I understand cause of government, trying to rise the revenue, but to some extent, it is going to affect the economy”, he said.
“My view is, economy can be improved through other means, not by increasing the visa fees for the foreigners”, added the trader.
Visas, alien registration, work and residential permits are some of the documents required from foreign nationals.
Kuol Buol, a Jonglei state resident, said most of the income earners will not afford the specified fees claimed by the government.
Kuol says the amount indicated will greatly affect the common citizens.
South Sudan government are due to review fees it had earlier proposed.