Businesses in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa have refused to open as part of a tax-hike protest that has hit small business operators.
The “resistance” which started sometime last week in the wider Oromia region is said to have reached the capital with Addis Standard (AS) portal reporting that a hitherto bustling business district, Axena Tera was “eerily quiet as businesses have shut in protest of new tax hike.”
The new tax targets businesses with an annual turnover of up to 100,000 Birr (about $4,300), its is aimed primarily at boosting government revenue. But business people insist it is over-estimated and the authorities are demanding too much.
AS described the situation which has been simmering over the past week as a case of ‘testing the streets again.’ The class of protesters are those in category ‘C’ of the taxation bracket.
The relatively peaceful and silent protest started in Oromia region which experienced some of the most violent anti-government protests last year. Reports indicate that there was security deployment in the wake of the protest.
Ethiopia is currently under a state of emergency rule, which is in its ninth month (it was declared in October 2016). Its aim was to quell spreading anti-government protests in two main regions of Amhara and Oromia.
It is unclear whether there will be an extension when it expires this month. Addis Ababa, however, maintains that there has largely been a considerably durable return to peace.
Ethiopia is considered East Africa’s economic giant and a continental powerhouse. The government’s largely public driven investments continue to attract praise from reputable international finance institutions.
Reports also indicate that people in Addis Ababa are weighing their options of returning their business licenses or filing complaints with the tax authorities.