ERCA to make good on its impounding
The Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) announced that it will confiscate for good the vehicles it had impounded in its Kality customs compound, in the last five years, unless importers pay the required tax within the coming 30 days and collect their properties.
ERCA seized these vehicles for their owners have allegedly abused the special duty-free privileges approved by the authority.
In a notice published on the daily state newspaper Addis Zemen, the authority warned that the owners of the seized vehicles will lose legal ownership if they do not pay the required tax and complete the formalities in the next 30 working days.
Meanwhile, ERCA has discontinued the duty-free privileges it used to award citizens returning home after a stay in foreign countries for education or work, because the concession was unfortunately very much abused, according to ERCA officials. According to statistics from ERCA, as much as 75 percent of the vehicles imported duty free are used for purposes other than what the privileges were intended for.
In 2007/08 ERCA launched an operation that led to the capture of imported cars that had been transferred to third parties from the streets as well as impounding them from where they were parked, including from resident’s home. ERCA conducted the campaign successfully introducing a percentage payment from the tax money claimed, to the informants who notified or tipped the agency about ostensibly illegally imported vehicles.
Hence through this surprise campaign waged on the streets of Addis Ababa, ERCA confiscated over 2,000 duty-free imported vehicles from the hands of third parties who allegedly violated its directive. Now ERCA makes another call to the owners to settle their tax dues and collect their properties.
The directive issued in 2001 by the then Ministry of Revenue allowed Ethiopian returnees from overseas to import personal use items including vehicles, home furniture and appliances through a duty-free privilege to encourage those who want to return to Ethiopia and participate in its effort for growth and development.