El Geneina — The authorities in West Darfur have lowered the sales tax increase imposed on traders to SDG5,280 per loaded commercial transport vehicle. Market traders in the state went on strike on Saturday after the authorities' had announced a 300 percent sales tax increase.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a market trader from El Geneina reported that the sales tax, that on 23 January suddenly was increased from SDG3,000 ($525) to SDG10,000 ($1,745) per loaded vehicle, has been lowered to SDG5,280 ($920).
The President of the West Darfur Chamber of Commerce, Tijani Yusif, his deputy, Ali Abdel Karim Shinuba, treasurer Abdel Aziz Yahya Bishara, and member El Jeili Banga Fadlallah are still being held by the Security Forces, the trader reported. They were accused of being agitators and saboteurs, after they had openly rejected the sudden sales tax increase of 300 percent.
The trader further revealed that the sales tax amount of of SDG5,280 per vehicle will be distributed as follows: SDG3,000 to the West Darfur Ministry of Finance, SDG2,000 to the tax department, SDG200, to the "Norms and Standards Office", and SDG280 to the Public Services department.
The lawyer of the detainees, Hashim Abdelnabi, told Radio Dabanga from El Geneina that the protests of the members of the Chamber of Commerce against the tax increase was in accordance with the law and the Constitution. "Every citizen is entitled to defend their rights and the right of the citizens to demand stable prices." The lawyer considers the Security's arrest of the Chamber of Commerce members arbitrary and illegal, and is demanding their "immediately release".