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Traders in Bakara forced to pay double tax or close

Sunday June 12, 2022

Mogadishu (HOL) - Government forces arrested nine traders on Saturday and closed several business centers in Bakara, Somalia's largest open-air market, after traders refused to pay extra taxes without being informed in writing by the Ministry of Finance.

Traders staged a demonstration in front of their shuttered businesses on the market's first and second streets, demanding that the government intervene and fix the excessive tax problem.

"People from the Howlwadag district administration have asked us to pay money, claiming it is taxed, and when we tell them we have already paid, they arrest the traders and order the business centers to close." One trader remarked, "We demand that the new president and those who worked for the previous government fix this issue."

During the demonstration, another trader stated, "I believe our businesses are being extorted. This is why they have forced our closure."

According to one of the traders, Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh and the traders have already agreed that the Bakaaro market tax will be levied at the port because the government will not enter the Bakara market for security reasons.

He added that since we are licensed importers, we have been paying the tax at the port.

Al Shabaab operatives regularly target tax collectors in Bakara Market.

The traders requested that the Ministry of Finance intervene in the Bakara market standoff.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was inaugurated as the 10th president of Somalia Thursday in a colourful ceremony in Mogadishu as he is expected to appoint his Prime Minister in the coming days.