Punitive import tax on cars deprive Ethiopians a driving seat and hurt the country – Addis Standard

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A provocative question was posed to PM Abiy Ahmed at one of the public meetings during his recent visit to the USA. From the way PM Abiy replied, I guess the question was related to the possibility of granting car import duty exemptions to diaspora who might consider returning and settling back home in Ethiopia.  The context to the question was Ethiopia’s extremely punitive car import tax, a major source of frustration among Ethiopians back home as well as in diaspora who contemplate returning home.  In his response to the question, PM Abiy justified Ethiopia’s extremely high car ownership taxes by citing the country’s capacity to build roads and import fuels. No doubt, the capacity to build and maintain roads have to be taken into account while determining quantities of cars to be imported.  However, I would argue the issue is a great deal more complex than simple connections of issues within the transport domain. In this piece, I would attempt to shed some light on broader issues related to Ethiopia’s existing car ownership policy and then bring out some hidden conflicts and contradictions. […] CONTINUE READING