Famine-hit South Sudan sharply raises foreigners’ work fees

By: | Published: March 5, 2017 2:42 AM

South Sudan has sharply increased the cost required for foreigners to work in the country from roughly $ 100 to up to $10,000 just days after famine was declared there.

Even before the fee hike, the government had been repeatedly accused of restricting humanitarian aid access during the country’s three-year civil war. (Reuters)

South Sudan has sharply increased the cost required for foreigners to work in the country from roughly $ 100 to up to $10,000 just days after famine was declared there. Even before the fee hike, the government had been repeatedly accused of restricting humanitarian aid access during the country’s three-year civil war. The Ministry of Labour raised work permit fees to anywhere from $ 10,000 to $ 1,000 depending on skill level, according to a memorandum dated Thursday.

Minister of Information Michael Makuei told The Associated Press today that the fee hikes apply only to foreigners and are aimed at increasing government revenue. South Sudan’s government and the United Nations late last month declared a famine in two countries of the East African nation, saying about 100,000 people are at risk.

Shortly after the famine was declared, President Salva Kiir again said his government would ensure “unimpeded access” for all aid organisations. Previous promises have had little effect. Some in Kiir’s government have expressed hostility toward the international community, accusing it of meddling in the country’s affairs. Minister of Cabinet Affairs Martin Lomuro recently told the AP that “most of the (humanitarian) agencies are here to spy on the government.”

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Yesterday, the UN said in a statement that humanitarian agencies recently were told to evacuate the famine-stricken town of Mayendit. The UN secretary-general has been among those accusing South Sudan’s government of restricting aid access during the civil war, which has killed tens of thousands and forced more than 1.5 million people to flee the country.

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