Ethiopia: Sales tax hike on retailers, businesses spark angry protests

ESAT News (July 11, 2017)

A sharp increase on sales tax levied by the regime on small businesses and vendors is faced with a nationwide protest.

In a number of localities in the Oromo region, people took to the streets and took over local administration offices in protest against the increase in taxes which they said does not take their dwindling revenue into consideration.

In Chelenko and Chero towns of West Hararghe, residents went to the office of the local administration and disrupt a cabinet meeting. Businesses were closed for the day in the towns.

Similarly, in Shashemene, Ginchi, Jeldu, Jima, Ambo residents say the increase in taxes were unfair and it would force them to shut down their businesses. Residents of Ginchi, a town where the anti-government protests began two years ago, said they would hold demonstrations on Wednesday in protest against the tax hikes.

Businesses in Addis Ababa, who threatened to close their business in protest were by told by authorities that they would be evicted from their shops should they join protest. The business men said they were told to pass the tax hike on to consumers.