Officials of the Ministry of Revenues want to see regional bureaus cancel double taxation following complaints filed by the Ethiopian Postal Services Enterprise (EPSE).

Senait Seyum, a team leader for a tax reconciliation department, confirmed that the Ministry was compelled to dispatch circulars to regional bureaus cancelling the taxation after they were challenged by regional branch managers of the Postal Enterprise.

Under the management of Hanna Arayasellasie, the Enterprise has received letters from its branch heads in Debre Birhan, Debre Tabor, Sodo and Hawassa towns, complaining about notices issued by managers in their respective regional revenue bureaus.

The Enterprise has revised fees for its services after 11 years, raising its rental six-fold last year. The annual rent of a regular mailbox at the head office on Churchill Avenue jumped from 85 Br to 600 Br. The larger mailbox fee of 170 Br has increased by 500pc. Effective September 5, 2021, the revised fees were made amidst a decline in the Enterprise’s revenues due to a drastic shift in users’ preferences for digital communication platforms over the decade.

In the last decade, Ethiopia’s internet subscribers skyrocketed from less than one million to almost 25 million. This drastic shift to the digital world has left mailboxes unoccupied.

The Enterprise is one of a few national institutions after it was established in 1894, following an imperial edict during the reign of Emperor Menelik II. It was restructured in 2009 as a state-owned enterprise. It has 700 branches across the country, which reported 187 million Br in revenues the previous year and delivered 9.7 million packages.

The Enterprise also provides parcel services, limiting the weight of a package to 31Kg. It has temporarily suspended services in some of the country’s northern regions, lowering its traffic by 20pc.

“All our regional branches were asked to pay taxes in their respective region,” said Gelana Peresa, legal manager. “We wrote letters to the federal Revenue Ministry based on the complaints coming from our branches.”

Getachew Mesfin, tax collection monitory officer for the Amhara Regional State revenue bureau, has confirmed receiving the circular from the Ministry. His bureau collected more than 26 billion Br last year.

“We’re within our rights to ask for a municipality tax,” he told Fortune.

The regional bureau insists on taxes on municipality services from the land where the Enterprise builds its office, registered vehicles, and advertising boards remain within their jurisdictions.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 08,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1171]

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