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Some unusual facts about repeal in Ethiopia (Part II)


Double Repeal and repeal after indefinite period of time

It is difficult even for law makers to remember each and every law they have amended and repealed. With the ever increasing quantity of legislations issued by the law maker and subordinate organs, sometimes it may happen that a provision of the law be repealed twice. Here are two instances:

A.)  Proclamation No. 287/2002 (Tax on Coffee Exported from Ethiopia (Amendment) Proclamation) is an amendment to Proclamation No.99/1998 (Tax on Coffee Exported from Ethiopia.) One of the provisions of the previous law which was amended by Proclamation No. 287/2002 is Article 4. This Article provides that the rate of Tax payable on Coffee exported from Ethiopia shall be 6.5% (six and point five per cent) of the FOB price. FOB is defined in the proclamation as selling price of coffee quoted at the port of loading, agreed between the Coffee exporter and his customer and approved by the National Bank of Ethiopia, from which freight and insurance costs are excluded.

Article 2(1) of Proclamation No. 287/2002 mainly amends the tax rate lowering  it to zero. It reads:

Article 4 of the proclamation is deleted and replaced by the following new Article 4.

“4. The rate of the Tax which has been 6.5% (six and point five per cent) shall be zero”

However, the deletion and replacement to article 4 of Proclamation No.99/1998 is a double repeal as it has already been deleted by Council of Ministers Regulations No.73/2001(Tax Amendment on Exported Coffee Council of Ministers Regulations.)

Article 2 of the regulation reads:

2. Amendment

Article 4 of the Tax on Coffee Exported from Ethiopia Proclamation No.99/1998 is deleted and replaced by the following new Article 4:

4. Rate of the Tax

1) The Rate of the Tax shall be 6.5% (six and point five per cent) of the FOB price.

2) Notwithstanding the provisions of Sub-Article (1) above, no tax shall be levied if the FOB price of the coffee exported is:

(a) Below 105 cents (one hundred five cents) per pound for washed coffee;

(b) Below 70 cents (seventy cents) per pound for unwashed coffee.

By way conclusion, it means that article 4 of Proclamation No.99/1998 was repealed by Proclamation No. 287/2002 after it [Proclamation No.99/1998] was repealed by Regulations No.73/2001.

B.)  Article 17(1) of the Census Commission Establishment proclamation No. 84/1997 states that the Population and Housing Census Commission Establishment Proclamation No.32/1992 is repealed. However, Proclamation No.32/1992 was again repealed for the second time by article 18(1) of Proclamation No. 180/1999 (Census Commission Establishment Proclamation)

The problem seems to have been created due to failure of parliament to set exact expiry date for Proclamation No.32/1992. Even though it [Proclamation No.32/1992] was expressly repealed by Proclamation No. 180/1999, its applicability was extended for indefinite period of time. According to article 19 of proclamation No. 84/1997, the previous proclamation (32/1992) will remain applicable with respect to census undertakings not completed and until such time that the Secretariat (of the Census Commission) is properly organized. Hence, someone has to wait until he/she is told that the Secretariat (of the Census Commission) is properly organized to verify whether the proclamation is active or not. It is a subjective condition and no one could for sure know that it is actually repealed. When I say no one, it includes the House of People’s Representatives. That is why it repealed the same law twice.

What is more interesting is article 20 of Proclamation No. 180/1999. It reads:

“Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 18 (l) of this proclamation, Proclamation No. 32/1992 shall remain applicable until such time that the Secretariat is properly organized.”

It may be confusing, but this article seems to suggest that Proclamation No. 32/1992 which was repealed twice is still active for some unknown time in the future… until such time that the Secretariat is properly organized! By the way, why was it so difficult to organize the secretariat of the Census Commission? [It took more than two years!]

Repeal for the unusual ground

Why is a law repealed? There may be so many convincing justifications to repeal a law, but definitely the following two cases are wrong [I mean may be unusual] answers to the question.

·         National Lottery Administration Re-establishment Proclamation No.535/2007

[Article] 22 Repealed and Inapplicable Laws

1/ The National Lottery Administration Re-establishment Proclamation No. 510/2007 .having not been published as endorsed by the House, is hereby repealed

·         Addis Ababa City Government Revised Charter Proclamation No. 361/2003

[Article] 67. Repealed Laws

1) The Addis Ababa City Government Revised Charter Proclamation No. 311/2003, having been published with its contents changed without following the Legislative Procedure, is hereby deleted and replaced by this Charter

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7 replies »

  1. Abrsh you have done it well. the other problem in the ethiopian legal system is the new law may not include all contents of the repealed law. I think you will write on this topic.

    Like

  2. God bless Abraham Yohannes! you are best informer @ Ethiopian law on internet to me and may be more to many at law school too. please keep up!

    Like

  3. Abrish, the article is superb in its content as well as the argumetns it forwarded, but the reality it reveals are very saddening. Nonetheless, you deserve to be thanked for publishing this article.

    Like

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