Ethiopia: Business strikes continue amid conflicting statements by officials

ESAT News (July 25, 2017)

Strikes by businesses in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa and regional towns continue for the second week despite intimidations by security forces and conflicting statements by officials.

Strikes by small businesses and vendors that began in the country’s Oromo region last week against new tax hikes have spread to the Amhara region and businesses in Addis joined the shutdown on Monday. Major business districts in the capital were closed on Tuesday despite reports that police and security forces were threatening to revoke the licenses of those who joined the strikes. Reports say that in Nefas Silk district of the capital, business owners have clashed with police who were trying to force them open their stores. Authorities put notice of violation on some shops for refusing to open for business.

Director of the Revenue and Customs Authority, Kebede Chane who over the weekend told a pro-government newspaper that the new tax hikes have been scrapped made a uturn on Monday telling a ruling party radio that nothing has changed as far as the tax assessments on businesses.

Strikes have also continued in the Amhara and Oromo region.. In Shebel Berenta, Gojam, businesses were shut down for the fifth day with owners demanding the release of fellow businessmen who were detained by the authorities. Reports also say strikes have continued in Mota, Sahmbuna and Jimma.