Mizan Law Review Vol 5, No 2 (2011)

Mizan Law Review publishes peer reviewed scholarly articles that identify, examine, explore and analyze legal and related principles, stipulations and concepts based on research findings. Mizan’s articles aim at interpretation, description, exploration and diagnosis towards the solution of problems (or legal issues) including proactive critique and projection that assist the development of laws.(Source African Journals on-line   http://www.ajol.info)

BETWEEN ‘LAND GRABS AND AGRICULTURAL INVESTMENT: LAND RENT CONTRACTS WITH FOREIGN INVESTORS AND ETHIOPIAS NORMATIVE SETTING IN FOCUS

Elias N. Stebek

Abstract

This article examines whether the land rent contracts and the Ethiopian legal framework on rural land use rights can assure win-win mutual benefits expected from large-scale land transfers to foreign investors. The article further examines the challenges in the realization of the Seven Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investments prepared by FAO, IFAD, UNCTAD and the World Bank Group as a framework of standards for the current global dialogue on large-scale farmland acquisitions. I argue that land-use insecurity in the Ethiopian context results from the extensive powers of executive offices that are empowered to dispossess holders and reallocate land to investors. These powers can be even more discretionary where land transfers are made without prior mapping and demarcation of protected forests and wildlife, and where registration and the issuance of land-holding certificates to smallholder farmers and pastoralists have not yet been made. The article suggests the need to rectify the gaps in the land transfer contracts and most importantly, the need to render the government a custodian (and not owner) of land in conformity with the FDRE Constitution and to ensure that the termination of land use rights is decided by courts so that executive offices would not perform the dual functions of revoking and reallocating rural land use rights.

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THE POLITICS UNDERPINNING THE NONREALISATION OF THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT

Belachew Mekuria Fikre

Abstract

The right to development stands out as one of the controversial rights ever since its articulation in the 1970s. The adoption of the 1986 United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development underlines the importance of international cooperation for it to be realised. I argue that the emphasis on ‘development aid’ rather than the broader ‘development cooperation’ has contributed a great deal to the politicisation of the right and consequently undermined its materialisation. Indeed, there is the need for semantic and conceptual clarity in the use of the term ‘international assistance and cooperation’ that has deceptively supplanted ‘international cooperation.’ While the former is a term used under Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights with a view to laying down the broader States Parties’ obligations, the latter is what the Declaration on the Right to Development exclusively employs. I argue that even if development assistance is indispensable, taking it as the sole approach to the realisation of the right to development is both wrong and unhelpful.

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ETHIOPIAN LAW OF INTERNATIONAL CARRIAGE BY AIR: AN OVERVIEW

Hailegabriel G. Feyissa

Abstract

Ethiopia’s aviation history goes back to the late 1920s. And, carriage of goods and passengers by air dates at least as far back as the 1940s – the decade which witnessed the establishment of Ethiopian Air Lines Corporation (now Ethiopian Airlines). Despite Ethiopia’s relative success in commercial aviation, domestic literature on commercial air law has been scanty. Court decisions involving air carriage are rare, and one can seldom find a course on air law in the curricula of Ethiopian law schools. This article is an attempt to briefly address the gap in literature and encourage further academic discourse on Ethiopian law of air carriage with particular attention to the law and practice regarding international carriage by air.

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TO TAX OR NOT TO TAX: IS THAT REALLY THE QUESTION?  VAT, BANK FORECLOSURE SALES, AND THE SCOPE OF EXEMPTIONS FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES IN ETHIOPIA

Taddese Lencho

Abstract

The Ethiopian Value Added Tax of 2002 follows the standard approach of exempting financial services from VAT. Not all ‘financial services’ are, however, exempted from VAT. A number of services provided by the financial institutions are made taxable by the VAT laws of Ethiopia. No subject in this regard has probably attracted as much attention and controversy as that of sale by foreclosure of property held as security by banks. Both sides (i.e., members of the financial industry and the tax authorities) seemed locked in their conviction over the treatment of foreclosure sales in VAT. Members of the financial industry (in particular banks) are convinced that foreclosure sales enjoy the privilege of exemption in VAT while some within the Tax Authorities are equally convinced that foreclosure sales should be chargeable with VAT. These controversies have played out in the courtrooms, the press and a number of communications between the Tax Authorities and the members of the financial industry. This article examines these controversies and analyzes the scope of exemptions for financial institutions under Ethiopian VAT laws.

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Amhara Regional State VALUE ADDED TAX(VAT) PROCLAMATION NO. 285/2002

VALUE ADDED TAX(VAT) PROCLAMATION NO. 285/2002

via ANRS Revenue Autrhority.

ANRS Revenue Autrhority

VALUE ADDED TAX(VAT) PROCLAMATION NO. 285/2002

WHEREAS, the current sales tax does not allow collection of the tax on the added value created wherever a sales transaction

WHEREAS, the value added tax minimizes the damage that may be caused by attempts to avoid and evade the tax and helps to ascertain the profit obtained by the taxpayers;

WHEREAS, the tax enhance saving and investment as it is a consumption tax and does not tax capital;

WHEREAS, replacement of the current sales tax by value added tax enhances economic growth and improves the ratio relationship between Gross Domestic Product and Government Revenue;

NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with Article 55(1) and (11) of the Constitution, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:

SECTION ONE

General
  1. Short Title
    This proclamation may be cited as the “Value Added Tax Proclamation No.285/2002.”
  2. Definitions
    For the purpose of this Proclamation, unless the context otherwise requires:

    1. ” accounting period” means a calendar month. The month of Nahase and Pagumen shall be aggregated and treated as one calendar month;
    2. “Agent” means any person who acts on behalf of and on instruction from another person;
    3. “Association of persons” means an association of individuals or an association that includes one or more members who are not individuals, but not including any association falling within the definition of “body”;
    4. “Authority” means the Federal Inland Revenue Authority;
    5. “Body” means any company, registered partnership, entity formed under foreign law resembling a company or registered partnership, or any public enterprise or public financial agency that carries out business activities including body of persons corporate or unincorporated whether created or recognized under a law in force in Ethiopia or elsewhere, and any foreign body’s business agent doing business in Ethiopia behalf of the principal:
    6. “Export” means taking goods out of Ethiopia;
    7. “goods” means all kinds of corporeal movable or immovable property, thermal or electrical energy, heat, gas, refrigeration, air conditioning, and water, but does not include money;
    8. “Money” means:
      1. a coin or note that is legal tender in Ethiopia; or
      2. a bill of exchange, bank draft, promissory note, postal order, or money order; or
      3. a stamp, from or card that has a monetary value and is sold or issued by the Government for the payment of any fiscal charge leveled under any law except where the coin, note, stamp, from, or card is disposed of as a collector’s piece, an investment article, or an item of numismatic interest;
    9. “Import of Goods” means bringing goods into Ethiopia according to the customs legislation;
    10. “Permanent Establishment” means a fixed place of taxable activities through which those activities of a person are wholly or partly carried on. The following shall, in particular, be considered to be a permanent establishment, an administrative office, branch, factory, workshop, mine quarry or any other place for the exploitation of natural resources, and a building site or place where construction and/or assembly works are carried out.                                                                             READ MORE

THE LAW OF CORPORATE TAXATION IN ETHIOPIA

THE LAW OF CORPORATE TAXATION IN ETHIOPIA

BERHANE G/MARIAM

ADVISOR: PROFESSOR TILAHUN TESHOME
SUBMITTED TO:
THE SCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIES IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE DEGREE OF MASTERS IN BUSINESS LAWS (LL.M) ADDIS ABABA,

JANUARY 15, 2010
ADDIS ABABA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIES

Abstract
The taxation of business organizations generally falls into two basic models-“Corporate” taxation and “Partnership” taxation. Corporate taxation typically imposes a tax on the income of certain types of business organizations and also taxes the profits distributed to the holders of the
ownership interests. The partnership taxation model, on the other hand, taxes the income derived by the organization directly to the owners whether or not distributed. This Paper assesses the treatment of corporate taxation in the Ethiopian tax law and argues that the corporate tax issues are not properly addressed in a manner that attracts corporate business investment.

Ethiopian Tax and Customs Laws

ETHIOPIAN TAX and CUSTOMS LAWS

Ethiopian tax and customs laws is characterized by frequent repeal and amendments. The number of proclamations, regulations and directives makes it to some extent difficult to understand this area of law. In order to make it easy for researchers, business persons and others interested in knowing Ethiopian tax and customs laws I have prepared this compilation. It contains a subject index and a guide to repealed laws. Fortunately, I was able to obtain some statutes enacted before 1995.

Currently, the administration and enforcement of tax and customs laws is centralized under a single agency i.e. Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority. The establishment act of the Authority has been amended 4 times and lastly the recent proclamation establishing the Authority, Proc 587 Ethiopia Revenues and Customs Authority  has repealed all previous legislations.

Compared to other administrative agencies in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority has a unique (or may be odd) features. This unique feature could be best understood from the constitutional principle of separation of powers perspective. According to article 6 of the establishment proclamation, the Authority is responsible to establish and implement modern revenue assessment and collection system.  It is also empowered to examine goods and means of transport entering into or departing from Ethiopia through customs ports, frontier posts and other customs stations, and ensure that customs formalities are complied with. In addition to such administrative powers it is also given prosecution and investigative powers over tax and customs offenses. The proclamations also instructs the Federal police to organize and deploy police force to prevent criminal offences committed in violation of customs and tax laws. Federal courts are also instructed organize customs and tax divisions that enable efficient enforcement of customs and tax laws. Irrespective of the civil servants proclamation no 515 that regulates employment conditions of civil servants; employees, prosecutors and investigators of the authority are governed by a separate regulation of the Council of Ministers ans Directive of the Authority.  Irrespective of the legal analysis, the real implications of the cumulative powers of the authority in light of the constitutional principle of separation of powers, requires practical research.

Below you will find Ethiopian tax and custom laws arranged in topics and sub-topics. I have made a lot of efforts to make this a complete guide. Please do leave me a message if there is any law not included here.

ETHIOPIAN TAX  and CUSTOMS LAWS

RepealedTax and Customs Laws

DIRECTIVES

ALL DIRECTIVES of ETHIOPIAN REVENUE and CUSTOMS AUTHORITY

TAX DIRECTIVES of MINISTRY of FINANCE and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

pre-1995 STATUTES

(SOURCE:  Foreign Tax Law, Inc. Website: http://www.foreignlaw.com)

AGRICULTURAL INCOME TAX PROCLAMATION NO. 77 of 1976

CAPITAL GAINS TAX PROCLAMATION NO. 108 of1994

INCOME TAX Law Proclamation No. 173 of 1961

MINING TAX PROCLAMATION NO. 53 of 1993

PETROLEUM TAX PROCLAMATION NO.296 of 1986

SALES AND EXCISE TAX PROCLAMATION No.68o of 1993

STAMP TAX PROCLAMATION NO. 334 of 1987

CUSTOMS LAWS

PROCLAMATIONS

Proc No. 622- 2009 Customs Proclamation

Proc No. 249-2001 Export Trade Duty Incentive Scheme Establishment

Proc No. 173-1999 Pre-Shipment Inspection Scheme Establishment

Proc No. 60-1997 The Re-Establishment and Modernization of Customs Authority

Reg No. 108-2004 Customs Clearing Agents

BILATERAL AGREEMENTS

Procl No 540 Agreement on Customs Cooperation

REGULATIONS

Reg No. 2-1996 Customs Tariffs (Amendment)

Reg No. 6-1996 Customs Tariffs Council of Ministers (Amendment)

Reg No. 11- 1996 Customs Tariffs Council of Ministers (Amendment)

Reg No. 24-1997 Customs warehouse License Issuance

Reg No, 25-1997 Customs Tariffs Council of Ministers (Amendment)

Reg No. 37-1998 Freight Forwarding and Ship Agency License

Reg No. 48-1998 Customs Tariffs Council of Ministers (Amendment)

Reg No. 56-1999 Pre-shipment Inspection Service Fees

Reg No. 55-1999 Customs Tariffs Council of Ministers (Amendment)

Reg No. 89-2003 Customs Tariffs Council of Ministers (Amendment)

Reg No. 80-2003 Customs Tariffs Council of Ministers (Amendment)

Reg. 153 Customs Tariffs (Amendment)

TAX LAWS

Reg No 139 Obligatory Use of Sales Register

Reg No. 75-2001 Tax Withholding Scheme Application

SUR- TAX

Reg No. 59-1999 Payment of Sur- Tax on Import Goods

Reg No. 69-2001 Repeal of Sur-Tax on Imported Goods

Reg No. 133 Import Sur-Tax

STAMP DUTY

Proc No. 110-1998 Stamp Duty

Proc No. 612-2008 Stamp Duty (Amendment)

SALES and EXCISE TAX

ProcNo. 610-2008 Excise Tax (Amendment)

Proc 570 Excise Tax (Amendment)

Proc No. 307-2002 Excise Tax Proclamation

Proc No. 228-2001 Sales and Excise Tax (Amendment)

Proc No. 77-1997 Sales and Excise Tax (Amendment)

Proc No. 237-2001 Sales and Excise Tax (Amendment)

Proc No. 149-1999 Sales and Excise Tax (Amendment)

INCOME TAX

Proc No. 608-2008 Income Tax (Amendment)

Proc NO. 286-2002 Income Tax Proclamation

Proc No. 227-2001 Income Tax (Amendment)

Proc No. 36-1996 Income Tax (Amendment)

Reg No. 43-1998 Income Tax (Amendment)

Reg No. 78-2002 Income Tax

TAX ON EXPORT GOODS AND MINING OPERATIONS

Proc No. 23-1996 Mining Income Tax (Amendment)

Proc No. 287-2002 Tax on Coffee Exported from Ethiopia (Amendment)

Proc No. 99-1998 Tax on Coffee Exported from Ethiopia

Proc No. 226-2000 Petroleum Operations Income Tax (Amendment)

Proc 567 Raw and Semi Processed Hides Skins Export Tax

Proc No 543 the revised Export Trade

Reg No. 73-2001 Tax Amendment on Exported Coffee

TURNOVER TAX

Proc No. 308-2002 Turnover Tax

Proc No. 611-2008 Turnover tax (Amendment)

VALUE ADDED TAX

Proc No. 285-2002 Value Added Tax

Proc No.609-2008 Value Added Tax (Amendment)

Reg No. 79-2002 Value Added Tax

TAX ADMINISTRATION , AGENCY STRUCTURE, POWERS, FUNCTIONS and DUTIES

Proc No. 233-2001 Federal Tax Appeal Tribunal Establishment

Proc No. 368-2003 Re-Establishment and modernization of customs Authority

Proc No. 125-1998 The Customs Authority (Amendment)

Proc No. 60-1997 The Re-Establishment and Modernization of Ethiopian Customs Authority

Proc No. 5-1995 Federal Government Revenues Board Establishment

Proc 587 Ethiopia Revenues and Customs Authority

BILATERAL AGREEMENTS

Proc No 508-2006 Agreement between the government of the

Proc No 507-2006 Agreement between the government of Ethiopia and Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Algeria for the Avoidance of Double Taxation

Proc No.479 Agreement between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Government of the Republic of South Africa for the Avoidance of Double Taxation

Proc No. 505 Convention between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the State of Israel for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion

Proc No. 480 Agreement between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Government of the Republic of Turkey for the Avoidance of Double Taxation

Proc No. 296-2002 Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Tax

Proc No. 249-2001 Export Trade Duty Incentive Scheme Establishment

Proc No. 223-2000 Agreement with the Government of the Russia

Proc No. 95-1998 Convention for the Avoidance of Double Tax

Proc 585 Agreement between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Czech Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation

584 Agreement between the Governments of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Government of French Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation

PROCLAMATION NO. 99/1998 PROCLAMATION TO PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF TAX ON COFFEE EXPORTED FROM ETHIOPIA

PROCLAMATION NO. 99/1998

A PROCLAMATION TO PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF TAX ON COFFEE EXPORTED FROM ETHIOPIA

WHEREAS, consolidating the various taxes and duties levied by different Proclamations and Regulations into a single tax facilities execution;

WHEREAS, converting specific rates into advalorem ensures the equability of the tax;

WHEREAS, it is necessary to lay down procedures to protect revenue against fluctuations due to change in prices and adjust the tax rate following market trend.

NOW THEREFORE, in accordance with Article 55(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is hereby proclaimed as follows:

 

1. Short Title

This Proclamation may be cited as “Tax on Coffee Exported from Ethiopia Proclamation No. 99/1998.”

2. Definitions

In this Proclamation:

1) “FOB” means 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.

2) “Tax” means the tax payable on Coffee exported in accordance with this Proclamation.

 

3. Basis of Computation of Tax

The FOB price of the coffee exported shall be the basis for the computation of the tax.

4. Rate of the Tax

The rate of the Tax shall be 6.5%(six and half per cent) of the FOB price.

 

5. Collection of the Tax

The Tax on Coffee exported shall be computed and collected by the Customs Authority.

 

6. Payment of the Tax

1) The Tax shall be paid at the Customs Station where the Coffee is declared for export.

2) If the Coffee is not exported on the date on which it shall have been exported and in the meantime the Council of Ministers increased the rate of the Tax, the exporter shall pay the difference between the increased rate and the rate that has actually been paid.

 

7. Refund

No refund to Tax once paid will be made.

 

8. Power to Issue Regulations

The Council of Ministers is hereby empowered to issue regulations amending the rate of the Tax specified under Article 4 of this Proclamation following fluctuations in the quantity and price of Coffee exported.

9. Duty to Cooperate

1) Any person or organization has the duty to co-operate with the Customs Authority in the implementation of this Proclamation.

2) The National Bank of Ethiopia has the duty to cooperate with the Customs Authority in the supply of information regarding the sales date of the Coffee, contract number, the name and address of the exporter, the quantity and price of the Coffee.

 

10. Formalities

The provisions concerning customs formalities of export merchandise under the Re-Establishment and Modernization of Customs Authority proclamation No. 60/1997 shall apply to Tax payable in accordance with this Proclamation.

 

11. Repeals

The following laws are hereby repealed:

1) Transaction Tax Proclamation No. 205/1963

2) The third schedule (export duties) attached to the Customs Tariffs Regulation No. 42.1976.

3) Coffee Surtax Regulation No. 280/1964 and all subsequent amendments.

4) Cess on Coffee Exported from Ethiopia Regulations No. 47/1976.

 

12. Transitory Provisions

Customs duty, transaction tax, Surtax and Cess due prior to the coming into force of this Proclamation shall be paid in accordance with the relevant laws then in force.

 

13. Effective Date

This Proclamation shall enter into force as of the 19th day of February, 1998.

Addis Ababa, this 19th day of February, 1998.

NEGASO GIDADA (DR.)

PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC

REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA