Nomonanoto Show

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

In the dense cobblestone streets of Burayu town, outside Addis Ababa, Melaku Abdella* and his family had been making a living selling basic items such as vegetables, cooking oil and soft drinks at competitive prices from their kiosk. But after the Ethiopian government stung him with a more than 300% tax increase last month, Abdella says he was left with no option but to close the business.
Like many low-income traders in the country’s Oromia region, the family didn’t keep accounts, meaning the authorities based their annual tax demand of 7,000 Ethiopian birr (£231) on an estimate of income. “It’s beyond my capacity to pay. I will have to hand in my business licence,” Abdella says.
The hikes on grocers, barbers and cafes were met with widespread anger and protests in parts of the volatile state, which has endured unrest and fatal clashes during the last two years.
The situation creates a dilemma for a government that is desperate to increase income tax and reduce its reliance on aid, but is also wary of further instability. Ethiopia’s parliament only lifted a 10-month state of emergency earlier this month following protests over land disputes and alleged political marginalisation. The unrest since November 2015 involved security forces killing at least 600 demonstrators and tens of thousands being jailed, according to the government.
Although still one of world’s least developed countries, Ethiopia’s economy has grown rapidly in the last decade, as the government used loans, aid and tax revenue to build clinics, universities, roads, railways and hydropower dams. Its budget has increased roughly in line with gross domestic product. Ethiopia’s tax revenue is around 14% of output, according to the International Monetary Fund, which is lower than the sub-Saharan African average. This financial year, almost a third of the federal budget of 321bn birr (£10.6bn) is projected to come from aid and loans.
Ethiopia’s ruling coalition has been credited for overseeing growth and improving infant mortality and life expectancy, but it is also blamed for suppressing democratic rights, maladministration, increasing corruption and, now, the draconian tax swoop.
The root of the dispute is a sizeable semi-formal economic sector – around 80% of the workforce is still employed in smallholder agriculture – entrenched mistrust between the state and traders, and an estimation system for small businesses.
Girls on their way to school, Goba, Bale region, Oromia Region
 Girls on their way to school, in Goba, Oromia. Photograph: Fis/imagebroker/Rex/Shutterstock
Enterprises with an annual turnover of less than 500,000 birr are not required to produce audited accounts. Instead, officials visit each premise to make an income assessment. That has set up a game of cat-and-mouse with many vendors running down stock in anticipation of the visits. The result has been a large discrepancy between what traders say they earn and what their assessments are based on, even if they made an accurate verbal declaration. “What most people tell the government is too low, so the officials don’t believe anybody. Honesty does not work,” says one Burayu business owner, who also requested anonymity.
Oromia revenue officers take the estimation and multiply it either by 300 days for goods retailers or 360 days for services to produce a turnover estimate. Profits are calculated by applying a standard margin for each type of business, which is then taxed at marginal rates from 0% for profits of less than 7,200 birr to 35% for those earning more than 130,800 birr.
“The assessment has basic technical problems. From the selection of people to assess, to the criteria used for assessment, it does not fit into any objective presumptive tax assessment methodology. It’s just an ad hoc categorisation of taxpayers,” says business consultant Getachew Teklemariam.
At Burayu town revenue department, deputy head Samuel Tadesse explains that business owners were shocked at the new evaluations because the government hadn’t carried out an assessment for seven years.
Annual inflation shot up to 40% in 2011, but has been hovering near 10% recently. Also, last year, the tax thresholds increased. For example, the tax-exempt portion rose from 1,800 birr to 7,000, while the upper margin was previously 60,000. “They are confused because for six years they paid a similar amount,” Tadesse says.
By Lake Hora in Bishoftu town, about 50km south-east of Addis Ababa, a man in a bright yellow T-shirt and matching sunglasses repairs a door with a soldering iron and angle grinder amid a shower of sparks. He’s given up on his business after a 13,000-birr tax bill that he believes was four times what it should have been, and is using a friend’s workshop. “It’s better to be mobile, going here and there. That is better than being licensed,” he says.
Ethiopian craftsmen shut their shops to protest against tax regulations in Holeta, Oromia, in July 2017
 Ethiopian craftsmen shut their shops to protest against tax regulations in Holeta, Oromia, in July 2017. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Others in the area say the levies on small businesses are another example that the system only works for the rich, who receive favours and tax breaks. Another small business owner believes access to jobs, land and controlled commodities such as sugar requires loyalty to the ruling party. The welder thinks the government wants the extra revenue to buy weapons – one of a number of conspiracy theories about the tax policy, testament to the extent of Oromo discontent, and the difficulty the authorities will have implementing unpopular policies. Protests over the tax, which closed businesses in July, have merged with other grievances and led to widespread strikes in Oromia last week.
Back in Burayu, rather than risk an unaffordable tax demand next year, Abdella says he will try to support his family by working in the construction industry. He has no faith that the ruling coalition will change its ways to make life easier for small businesses. “I don’t think there will be a solution if this government stays,” he says.
*Name changed to protect identity

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.
I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Global warming is affecting the lives of an estimated 15 million Ethiopian farmers, who heavily rely on the coffee industry for their livelihood. 
Ethiopia is Africa's largest coffee producer and ranks fifth globally, but dry spells are having a direct impact on production.
"The amount of coffee we can produce is fluctuating, especially when there is a lot of sun during the dry seasons in recent years," Kebede Garmamu, coffee farmer, told Al Jazeera.
Reporting from Sidama, in southern Ethiopia, Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford,  said: "A recent study says that up to 60 percent of the area in which coffee is grown in Ethiopia may be unsuitable to do so by the end of the century because of the affects of climate change."
Coffee plants ideally need mild temperatures between 15 to 26 degrees Celsius to thrive.
Farmers are now taking extra measures and growing alternative crops to combat the problem.
Garmamu, who has been growing coffee for more than 20 years, plants false banana trees to provide shade to the coffee plants. 
With higher temperatures especially hitting the low-land areas, researchers believe farmers could potentially increase their yields four-fold by moving to higher regions with a more suitable climate. 
"Coffee is the most important crop for this country," said coffee Melese Gebergiorgis.
"Coffee is the country's biggest export earner, which is why the government is so focused on helping deal with the effects of climate change."
Source: Al Jazeera News

Saturday, August 26, 2017

በክረምቱ የዝውውር መስኮት በርካታ ተጫዋቾች የለቀቁበት ሲዳማ ቡና ምስጋናው ወልደ ዮሀንስ እና ኢኳቶሪያል ጊኒያዊው ቤን ማማዱ ኮናቴን አስፈርሟል፡፡
በትውልድ አይቮሪኮስት በዜግነት ኢኳቶሪያል ጊኒያዊው የተከላካይ አማካይ ቤን ኮናቴ በአንድ አመት ውል ሲዳማ ቡናን ተቀላቅሏል፡፡ የ29 አመቱ ኮናቴ በአይቮሲኮስት ፣ ቡርኪናፋሶ ፣ ኢክቶሪያል ጊኒ ፣ ባልሬይን ፣ ኦማን ፣ ኢራቅ ክለቦች ተዟዙር መጫወት የቻለ ሲሆን የተጠናቀቀውን የውድድር አመት በቆጵሮሱ ክለብ ደሞሉፒናር አሳልፏል፡፡ ከ2011-2014 ድረስም በኢኳቶርያል ጊኒ ብሔራዊ ቡድን ተጫውቷል፡፡
ሌላው ለክለቡ የፈረመው የመስመር አማካዩ ምስጋናው ወልደዮሀንስ ነው፡፡ ምስጋናው በድሬዳዋ ከተማ ለ6 ወራት ከቆየ በኋላ ሁለተኛውን ዙር በሀዋሳ ከተማ ያሳለፈ ሲሆን ከሰአት ላይ ፊርማውን ሙሉ ለሙሉ አጠናቆ ክለቡን የሚቀላቀል ይሆናል፡፡
ሲዳማ ቡና እስካሁን 10 ተጫዋቾችን ማስፈረም የቻለ ሲሆን ተጨማሪ ተጫዋቾችን ለማስፈረም እየተንቀሳቀሰ መሆኑን የክለቡ ፕሬዝዳንት አቶ መንግስቱ ሳሳሞ ለሶከር ኢትዮጵያ ገልጸዋል፡፡ የይርጋለሙ ክለብ የቅድመ ውድድር ዘመን ዝግጅቱን እሁድ እንደሚጀምር ይጠበቃል፡፡
Photo from Capital

Despite criticism from fans over neglecting the two top scorers in their Player of the Year award, Losa Aberra is the clear favorite to win Women’s Best Player. Getaneh Kebede broke a 16 year old scoring record and Salhadin Said had 15 goals and seven more in the African Champions League yet they were not on the shortlist.

Saint George and national team central defender Aschalew Tamene, versatile team mate Mentesenot Adane and Sidama Bunna’s Mulualem Mesfin are front runners for the 2016-17 Men’s Player of the Year award. Considering the champions’ strong squad many suggest Mulualem’s contribution in Sidama’s modest squad makes him the favorite for the award.

Spear heading Dedebit to unbeaten championship title with 38 goals in her name Losa Aberra is the clear favorite to take home the award while her team mate mid fielder Senait Bogale is likely to finish second ahead of Ethiopia Neged Bank’s Zuleika Jihad. Ugandan international goal keeper Robert Odonkara’s five straight seasons of domination appears to have come to an end through Sidama Bunna’s inspirational goal keeper Lealem Berhanu. The goalie who signed with champions Saint George, following his key role in helping Sidama to stay in strong title contention is the favorite to crown the accolade ahead of Odonkara and Mekelakya’s Abel Mamo respectively. Hawassa’s goal keeper Tigist Aberra is in pole position to win Best Goalie of the Year award for the first time. Sasahulesh Seyoum of Adama and Tariqua Bergena of Diredawa are also in contention.

Photo from OPride
(OPride) – In 1517 Martin Luther, a professor of theology at the German-based Wittenberg University, wrote a list of propositions known as the Ninety-five Theses to correct errors in the Roman Catholic Church. It set in motion the Protestant Reformation, making Luther an idol for the birth of Protestantism.
The reformation process and protests against the excesses of the church appears not to have ended yet. An Oromo pastor has taken up the mantle by translating or changing biblical words that are deemed erroneous. The Evangelical Church of Germany recently unveiled a new version of the Bible as part of the 500 Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which run from October 2016 – October 2017.
Among the most notable changes or corrections in the new bible is the term Ethiopia, which was changed to Cush. Rev. Benti Ujulu Tesso is one of the scholars behind some of the latest changes. He argues that the old version of the Bible, which refers to ‘Ethiopia’ 45 times was erroneous.
He notes that when the Greeks first translated the Bible from Hebrew, they changed the word Cush — which refers to a black African civilization — to ‘Athiopius’—meaning the land of the burnt face people.
Rev. Benti adds that the Cush are not the ‘burnt face’ people, rather they are black African. Therefore, ‘Athiopius’ or ‘Ethiopia’ is a racial insult. To correct this historical error, the word ‘Ethiopia’ was removed from the new Bible and replaced with its original term, Cush.
Merga Yonas, a freelance journalist based in Germany, talked to Rev. Benti exclusively on the rationale behind the change, the research or enquires that informed the drastic changes and what impact the translation may have on the followers of the Christian faith, particularly the Cush people.
... Merga: There have been heated discourse on identity among elites and other people from different walks of life in Ethiopia. There are those who argue that our sole identity should be Ethiopian.  On the other hand, there are those who argue ethnic identity comes first and Ethiopia is secondary. There are even others who totally refuse to recognize Ethiopia as their identity. How do you think the new translation will contribute to this discourse about identity?
Rev. Benti: I think, the truth will set you free. As long as there is evidence that the original name is Cush, there is no reason to argue that the word is Ethiopia. They may not find scientific evidence for calling us Ethiopia. When I say scientific, it includes linguistic, archeological and historical evidence. Let me tell you about the history of the current Ethiopia, there is no geography of today Ethiopia until 1900 or 1908. Before that the people were called Oromo, Sidama, Afar, Amhara, Tigre and so forth.
But today’s Ethiopian boundary was established by Emperor Menelik II of Abyssinia, who colonized the southern Cushitic and other people and formed the territory now known as Ethiopia. Even the word Ethiopia did not get official recognition until 1931. Before 1931, the country was called Abyssinia. And Abyssinians referred to themselves as Semitic people. So it was Emperor Haile Selassie, who in his first 1931 constitution dropped the name Abyssinia and adopted Ethiopia.
As such, the question is how come one country will be totally renamed Ethiopia, when the Cush and others have lived in this region of Africa for thousands of years. Well, the Greeks named Athiopius because people were talking about legends of Ethiopian empire, which is actually the Cushitic empire. They speak of Queen Sheba, who was Cush not Sem. Her empire was Cushitic, not Ethiopian empire. Academicians, historians and theologians should understand this very well. The politicians should also live with the fact and correct past mistakes. It is an important matter. My name is Benti, so I am not happy if my name is changed all of a sudden to James.
Any racial, sexual and other discrimination must be corrected. For example, ‘Slave, Obey your Masters’ must be changed. There is a concept that Ham and his generation were cursed, which gave intent that blacks were cursed. Therefore, all the problems of black people are to do with their curse from God. That must be totally changed or eliminated. Because, I don’t believe God cursed the Black people. Rather, it is a mistaken bias by the translators when they referred to the father of black, Ham, as cursed one. I believe that the God that cursed Ham cannot be the God of Christians. These mistakes, intentional or otherwise, do not disqualify the Bible from being Holy. But correcting the errors and presenting it in a positive and factual way will further enrich the Bible...
Please read all interview here