ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s first property tax bill is set to be tabled for public discussion in the coming weeks as the government hopes to increase its tax revenue.
State Minister of Finance Eyobe Tekalegne (Ph.D.) told members of parliament that the bill is a few discussions away from getting ready for their approval.
The new bill – expected to be enacted in the next fiscal year – will boost government’s tax revenue and support the economy hard-hit from the coronavirus fallout, the state minister said.
Once the bill is enacted, the government would levy a tax on properties including land and buildings, among others, will have a great impact on the government’s revenue, Eyob said.
“The buildings you see erected everywhere do not pay any property tax,” Eyob said. “This policy will change that”.
Right now, the bill is subjected to “some clarification from House of Federation”, he said and added that, once that is resolved, there will be a public discussion on the bill.
The minister said this at a meeting called by the house’s budget and finance standing committee to discuss the proposed 476 billion birr budget for the 2020/21 fiscal year.
The government is increasing its budget by nearly a quarter to 476 billion birr or 13.7 billion US dollars as economic reforms including privatization and improved revenue collection take shape.
The property tax will be introduced as part of government’s effort to improve its tax revenue as well as fill in a possible budget deficit.
Most of the MPs, during Wednesday’s meeting, expressed their fear that budget deficit could be a major economic problem during the upcoming fiscal year after the coronavirus fallout hit Ethiopia’s economy and tax revenue collection performance.
However, Eyob has told MPs that the budget is prepared after considering that.
Major efforts including implementing tax laws such as the newly revised excises proclamation will be exerted to collect a sufficient amount of money for the budget, according to Eyob.
By Sisay Sahlu
Featured Image: State Minister of Finance Eyob at a press briefing late last year [Photo File]