Ethiopia: Businesses shut down in protest against high tax assessment

ESAT News (July 17, 2017)

Businesses in several towns in the Oromo region of Ethiopia remained closed in protest against high taxes imposed on small business owners and vendors, which they said were assessed based on estimated sales that do not reflect their real sales.

Business owners complained that the recent assessment of taxes by authorities were arbitrary and the “estimated sales” as assessed were ten times their daily sales in some cases.

The move by authorities to levy taxes based on estimates has met  rejection by the business community and triggered massive shutdown of businesses especially in the Oromo region of the country where there are  fears that the possibility of another round of deadly protests seemed imminent. The region has seen deadly anti-government protests in 2015/2016 in which hundreds of protesters were shot and killed by security forces and tens of thousands still remain detained without due process of law.

In Ambo, Woliso, Ginchi, Guder, Burayou, Sahemene and in several other districts in the Ormo region, businesses and transportation services were closed, according to reports reaching from the regions.

In Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar some business owners are reportedly returning their licenses in response to the tax hikes.

There has been reports of heavy presence of regime’s army in a number of localities where businesses strike objecting the tax hikes.

Meanwhile, the regime is deploying troops in several districts in the Oromo region in what appears to be an indication of plans for another round of violent repression.