JUBA (Reuters) – South Sudan has temporarily reserved the amount of money it charges local and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to encourage groups to come and help with a humanitarian crisis, a senior official said. government.
The government and the United Nations said last month that South Sudan needs $ 1.7 billion in aid this year to help 6 million people, half of its population, cope with the effects of the war, hunger and economic decline.
Paul Dhel, vice president of the Southern Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, attributed the decision to waive the $ 3,500 fee for international NGOs and $ 500 for local organizations to the urgent humanitarian situation facing the country.
"The registration is completely free, it will boost humanitarian work in the country," he told Reuters, and said the exemption would be extended for one year.
South Sudan has been criticized in the past for imposing massive burdens on aid groups and their workers to register them to operate in the country.
United States Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, pressured President Salva Kiir at a meeting in Juba last year to facilitate the work of humanitarian groups, securing an order from the president to his troops to provide unrestricted access to humanitarian convoys.
Haley welcomed the exemption, saying that the fees charged for work permits for foreign aid workers should also be reviewed.
"Work permit fees, which often range from $ 2,000 to $ 4,000 per international staff member, remain a much higher financial burden," he said in a statement.
Reports by Denis Dumo; Written by Duncan Miriri; Mark Potter edition