The government can hold discussion with traders on 5% sales tax on goods, Finance minister, Abdirahman Beileh has said, but noted the importance of the tax for the nation.
Baileh insisted that the government did not impose new tax on the goods rather it renewed some of the ten regulated taxes.
“I know there are traders complaining about taxes but we should compete with the rest of the world. We did not impose new taxes but these are the existing ones. Even we have to come up with means to reduce the 5% sale tax on goods. We charged the 5% on part of their goods as wholesalers,” said the minister during an interview with VOA Somali service.
Mr.. Beileh said it is a requirement that government should cover costs, clears local and international debts if it fully gets taxes from public.
“We were very concerned about our traders closing down their premises claiming they do not know tax. Who is going to build this country for us because the world wants us to self-sufficient. The government should get tax from its citizens as the taxes paid by the citizen allows the country to go ahead with it is operations” the minister lamented
Backing Foreign Countries
He accused the traders of neglecting their obligations as citizens and supporting other foreign countries with taxes.
“We know Somalis live in other countries from Minneapolis to South Africa, they trade well. They pay taxes to all those countries, the same traders are the ones that also export and import the same goods and services to other countries and neighboring countries. I can’t know why they can pay tax in Nairobi and not in Mogadishu,” said Beileh.
The sentiments of the minister came after traders in Somalia’s main market, Bakara downed tools in protest of the 5% sales tax hike which came into effect early this month.
The traders reopened their business premises on Tuesday after two days of protest which halted all the operations in Bakaro market.