The House of Peoples’ Representatives (HoPR), which is currently on its summer recess, has been called back for an extraordinary meeting scheduled for July 26, 2016.
In a televised announcement this week, the House Speaker Abadula Gemeda, called Members of Parliament (MPs) to return for the extraordinary meeting to be held on the coming Tuesday, exactly three weeks since the House was temporarily closed on July 7 for three months recess. The recess time is given to MPs to get back to their respective constituencies where they are expected to confer with their electorates.
Rules of Procedure and Members Code of Conduct Regulation, allows the House Speaker to call an extraordinary meeting where urgent matters requiring the House’s decision arise during the recess time.
Three proclamations that are considered by the executive branch as having socioeconomic significance will be the agendas to be discussed and endorsed during this extraordinary session, a top government official, who is also an MP, told The Reporter.
The Federal Income Tax, the Tax Administration and the Geothermal Resources Development are the proclamations which will be endorsed, according to the same official.
The draft Income Tax Proclamation, which is envisaged to create a fair tax system and also to bring other tax categories that are not so far subject to tax into the tax system, is one of the draft proclamations found essential and should be applicable as of the beginning of this month, the official explained.
An amendment on the existing employment income tax schedule would be one of the socioeconomic significances expected to be gained from this draft income tax bill. It will lift up the employment income tax threshold from the existing 150 birr monthly income to 600 birr.
At the same time the maximum 35 percent tax rate currently imposed on monthly incomes exceeding 5,000 will be raised to start from 10,900 birr and above. Middle income employees, therefore, will be benefiting from the amendment when it is approved, authorities said. This specific change on the employment income tax schedule alone will shift away three billion birr revenue from the government coffer annually.
At the same time, though the government has envisaged collecting much more revenue from expanded income types outlined on the draft proclamation. A three percent income tax levied on non-resident international air transportation businesses, a 10 percent income tax imposed on a gross income derived from entertainment or performances including sports conducted by non-residents in Ethiopia and taxes imposed on incomes of non-residents are among the latest income types listed on the draft bill.
Furthermore, the House in its extraordinary meeting is expected to appoint judges nominated by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn for federal courts, the same source told The Reporter.
According to the same source, the extraordinary meeting could also be a platform to entertain other agenda topics to be tabled by Prime Minister Hailemariam. According to this source, the PM might have a cabinet reshuffle of some sort in mind which he would want House to endorse.
This extraordinary meeting is the second in the past recent years where the earlier one was held four years ago after the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.