Mogadishu (UM) – Somali Parliamentarians today voted to pay taxes on their income. After a lengthy debate over the report submitted by the Parliamentary Committee on Finance on the matter, MP’s agreed to pay taxes on their income by a large majority. 149 MP’s voted in favour of paying the income tax, 3 abstained and there were no objections. Parliamentarians were exempt from paying taxes in the last Budget because of a clause they negotiated with the Ministry of Finance to pass the supplementary budget a few months ago.
The Finance Committee and the Ministry of Finance led by Minister Abdirahman Dualle Beileh, agreed that the rate of income tax for the Parliamentarians will be set at 8% and will be collected from their October pay.
The Ministry of Finance has been making a case for payment of income tax by Parliamentarians for some time and they were supported by the State Attorney General Dr. Osman Guled. According to a letter from the State Attorney General, Dr. Osman Elmi Guled, the payment of income tax by MP’s was both a legal and moral issue.
The income of a MP is $4,100 per month which includes a recent security allowance of around $1100. The average salary of a Government employee is between $200-732 with Directors earning just over $1000. The unemployment figure in Somalia exceeds 70% with the youth facing the greatest barriers to employment.
During the discussions in Parliament, some MP’s expressed their anger at having been vilified in the Somali media for refusing to pay income tax and Ummadda Media, as the first advocate of this reform, is proud of its role in informing the public of the situation, championing the cause and the final outcome which is a success for the Somali people.