Ethiopia: Anti-tax hike strike spreads to southern regions

ESAT News (July 19, 2017)

Towns and districts in southern Ethiopia have joined the strike by small businesses and vendors in the Oromo region opposing the recent assessment of taxes by authorities which traders say was unfair.

According to information obtained by ESAT, businesses and transportations were shut down in Aleta Wendo, Gorche in Sidama Zone and in Basketo and Sawla in Gomugofa Zone as well as in Basketo special zone.

Sources said three security forces detained three businessmen who took part in the strike and there has been reports of beatings by police.

In the rest of the country, in the Oromo region, businesses are closed for the third day. Some of the localities on strike include Dembidolo, Gimbi, Nekemte, Ambo, Guder, Kuyera, Chiro, Meta Robi, Inchini and Wolleta, among others.

Small business owners and vendors complained that the recent assessment of taxes by authorities based on “estimated sales” were arbitrary and that the assessors have overestimated their sales.

Authorities have recently assessed taxes on businesses with annual sales of upto 4,300 dollars. The move has faced rejection and triggered strikes and shutdowns of businesses and transportation especially in the Oromo region of the country, a region that has seen deadly anti-government protests last year.