Addis Abeba, July 24, 2017 – Several business centers inside Merkato, the bustling business district in the heart of Addis Abeba city, remained shut throughout today. This includes almost all shops inside the Tana mall, the oldest shopping mall in Merkato.
These business owners are protesting the recent increase in presumptive tax for small businesses in Ethiopia.
They followed suit of similar protests that are being witnessed in several cities and towns in Oromia regional state, and that of the same protest seen in Kolfe, Axena Tera on July 20.
This is despite a statement by Kebede Chane, Director General of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ECRA), who said over the weekend that the presumptive tax, especially for micro-businesses such as street coffee vendors, hair dressers, laborers and tailors was scraped.
However, many of these business owners in Merkato who were approached by Addis Standard say they are protesting because there is no authority so far that is willing to discuss the presumptive tax amount that they say were unfairly levied on them via letters they have received from the revenue authority in the last three weeks.
Officials at the Revenue authority are however playing the protest down. Although shops inside several business centers remain closed as of this moment, “many of them are reopening,” a desk officer at the authority who is tasked, along with several other colleagues, to receive complaints from these businesses said. “We have received hundreds of complaints since last week,” he told Addis Standard.
It is not clear how long these businesses want to remain shut.