Don’t stall, vehicle importers urge parliament

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Ethio Vehicles Importer Owners Association claims that the outgoing parliament should respond to their claim which they filed over a year ago.
The association leaders expressed concern by stating that if their case was to be transferred to the newly elected parliament, it will be challenging to solve.
When parliament amends the highly discussed excise tax proclamation, which significantly revised the former law, in mid February 2020, the government had given a green light for those, who had secured a bank permit prior to the ratification of the proclamation No. 1186/2020 to import their used cars in six months time with the previous excise rate.
However, importers have claimed that the global pandemic, COVID 19, has created challenges in concluding the process under the given period that ended mid August 2020.
“Following the outbreak of COVID 19 countries have closed their borders, movement of people have been halted and event vessels were stuck on different ports due to that we can not manage transporting the vehicles as per the deadline,” Mohamed Amede, president of the Association explained.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

He said that due to that the association had discussed the issue with the Ministry of Finance senior officials and reached on common understanding to see a way to solve the problem, while the case was to be solved by the parliament, which is responsible for the law it amended. The association disclosed that it has followed the required path to file its case for Revenue, Budget and Finance Standing Committee of the parliament and discussed with members of the committee.
“Despite our communications with the standing committee, our issue is not yet solved for the past over a year,” the president complained.
He said that due to the delay of decision from the relevant body, importers are facing unnecessary costs including capital freeze, assets foreclosure for the collateral they borrowed from banks and demurrage at Djibouti and customs warehouse in Ethiopia.
So far 637 vehicles including 308 in Djibouti are stranded for several months because of the stated issue.
Importers argued that following coronavirus occurrence, the government has taken massive measures including easing some rules and regulation to mitigate the challenge that faces on the socioeconomic sphere, “however when it comes to our case we did not get any similar support that others secured, which is a double standard and unfair,” they said on the press conference held on September 2.
“Now we plead the parliament to solve our issue before it leaves for the newly elected parliament,” they said.
Vehicles which are stranded at the port and warehouse with an estimation of over 318 million birr were imported by 86 importers.
The new parliament will be inaugurated in the first week of October.
The association has 1,500 members, while licensed importers from Federal Transport Authority are over 3,000.
The amended excise that became effective as of February 2020 has imposed huge levy on used cars.