Sales register machines out of stock

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Suppliers of sales register machines (SRM) claims they are out of stock. Ministry of Revenue (MoR) says it is working with the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) to ease and bring forth a solution.
Sources told Capital that because of lack of access to foreign currency they are unable to supply the machine, which was introduced in late 2008 for VAT registered companies to expand the transparency of taxing system and expand the pubic revenue.
They said that because of the foreign currency shortage their activity has slowed down significantly and new customers and others who demand different services are stranded to get the machine and services.
“One of the criteria for the commencement of new business for companies that are registered under VAT is installing sales register machine, while those who are coming to buy the product are unable to get the SRM due to that we are out of stock,” one of the companies that are authorized to sale the machine told Capital.
Capital has observed the slowdown activity of one of the 14 companies that are supplying the machine. “At a normal time we are very busy on handling the crowd customers but as you see there is no one in our shop,” a sales at the machine sales shop told Capital.
Not only new machines but also spare parts are imported for maintenance for the existing machines.
Companies through their association have filed the case to MoR, so that the ministry is aware of the matter in order to find a solution.
They said that the sector is supposed to get priority on accessing foreign currency since it is a back bone for tax collection and government policy to expand the revenue. “Unless otherwise the sales registration will be back to the back ward system on using manual receipt scheme, which is vulnerable to fraud,” general manager of one of the companies, who demands anonymity, expressed his comment.
Zemede Teferra, State Minister of MoR, confirmed that the association informed them about the problem.
“We have written a letter and have orally discussed with officials at NBE to solve the problem and provide support to the companies,” Zemede told Capital.
“NBE has promised to solve the matter as soon as possible,” he added.
“We are not the authority that is allocating foreign currency for those who need. It is known who the relevant body is, and regarding the issue, we are communicating,” he responded to the question why the sector did not get priority regarding foreign currency allocation.
Figures Capital obtained from Ministry of Revenue shows, currently over 200,000 businesses are using SRM which was launched in 2008 in Addis Ababa first and expanded throughout Ethiopia.