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Ethiopia tax hike: gov't says majority compliant, ready to address grievances

Ethiopia tax hike: gov't says majority compliant, ready to address grievances

Ethiopia

Ethiopia tax authorities say tax hikes announced recently still stands despite protests by a section of affected business people.

Contrary to earlier reports that Ethiopia tax authorities had withdrawn tax hikes that led to ‘silent’ economic protests in the Oromia region and parts of Addis Ababa, head of the revenue body says they were open to listening and addressing grievances.

According to the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) Director-General, Kebede Chane, majority of the level ‘C’ taxpayers had already agreed with the ERCA’s estimations and were already paying the tax, state-owned FANA Broadcasting corporate reported.

He confirmed that a little over 30% of the the affected businesses had officially lodged complaints against the estimations. Of the 148,000 businesses, 68% of them had no issues according to Chane.

SUGGESTED READING [Photos] Ethiopia: Tax-hike protest spreads to Addis Ababa

The silent protest which started in the Oromia state – one of the epicenters of anti-government protests in 2016 – had spread to the capital Addis Ababa, by late last week. Most shops had closed in protest to the tax hikes which they said were overestimated.

The tax in question targets businesses with an annual turnover of up to 100,000 Birr (about $4,300), it was aimed primarily at boosting government revenue.

As at last week, the Addis Standard described the situation on the ground as a case of ‘testing the streets again.’ They report that police and military were deployed to parts of the region as at Monday, July 17, 2017.

The portal also reported some skirmishes in a city located about 120km west of the capital Addis Ababa. Aside the closure of shops in Addis Ababa, people were also said to have weighed options of returning their business licenses or filing complaints with the tax authorities.

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