“3. Payment of Rehabilitation Tax
With the exception of those who have limited income and are exempt from paying income tax, any individual with income, shall according to the articles specified in this proclamation, has the obligation to pay a rehabilitation tax that takes care of disabled freedom fighters, members of the family of disabled freedom fighters and the martyrs, and those members of the society who sustain injury due to natural catastrophes” (Proclamation 17, 10.12.1991).
I don’t know about you… but when you have old texts and proclamations, which is the legal texts for the theme in question. There should be no shadow of a doubt what is going on. No one should be shocked if the Eritrean government is willing to lie or deceive. That’s what they are known for doing and this regard… they are doing it again.
Yes, the Ministry of Information or Shabait is trying to dismiss stories written about the involuntarily imposed tax. A taxation of the diaspora and a measure, which states that Eritrean citizens in the diaspora have the obligation and shall pay the tax. That differs from the wordings in the article or statement posted yesterday. The Proclamations of 1991 and 1995 isn’t aligned with the wording of Shabait. That should be compelling and telling about how they want it all to look like. Instead of being sincere and honest about the tax. They are instead acting holier then thou, because they don’t think people have access to the documents, which are the basis for the tax in the first place.
As it continues in the 1995 proclamation…
“1. Short title
This proclamation is called “Proclamation Number 67/1995, a Tax Payment Proclamation for Eritreans in Diaspora Who Have Income”.
2. Tax payment
Any Eritrean citizen who lives outside of Eritrea and earns an income from employment, rent from movable and non-movable property, from business, from professional, or from a service charge of any other work or activity must be a 2% (two percent) tax of the net income on a monthly or annual basis” (Tax Payment Proclamation for Eritreans in Diaspora Who Have Income, 10.02.1995).
Now that you have read this part, which are blatant and direct. Both Proclamations was made by the Eritrean government and not grassroot organizations. This was government program or policy, which are a way of raising domestic revenue from outside sources. That is very clear and the intent is there. The proclamations are direct about who has to pay and such. In the 1995 proclamation the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for collecting the tax payment and have to use the entities or offices associated with the Ministry in the diaspora to do so. The Ministry later is ordered to directly deposit the tax payments to the Ministry of Finance and Development’s treasury account in the Bank of Eritrea. Therefore, we can see the scheme and tax is implemented with a clear goal.
That’s why you have to read these small fragments of the Shabait response on the matter.
Shabait Response in 2023:
“The overriding desire was to imbue some structure and uniformity to what was effectively a burgeoning spontaneous and voluntary grassroots movement. Subsequently with clear objective of funding countries’ social and development programs, in 1994, the Eritrean National Assembly enacted the Rehabilitation and Recovery Tax Proclamation (RRT). The RRT Proclamation specifically targets only Eritrean citizens in the Diaspora, not citizens of other countries of Eritrean descent. The rate was fixed at a low of 2% of net income; in a country where personal income tax is progressive and reaches 38%.” (…) “The legality of the RRT is unambiguous, and purposes laudable. It represents a symbolic burden shared by the Eritreans in Diaspora with the people inside the country. In this sense, its historical, moral, humanitarian and patriotic contents and values are more significant and profound than its material dividend. In fact, the funds collected annually are modest that should not be overstated when compared with the government budget and expenditure on basic social services” (Shabait – ‘Eritrea’s Response to the SEMG, 2014’ 23.02.2023).
I find it very interesting the way and the manner of which Shabait portrays this. It is compelling and really deep, in the sense of despair and need to address it. Yes, the international scrutiny of it can cause a stir. That is only sensible, as the way the Eritrean government has created a diaspora and later taxing them. This is people who has fled the regime and after that they got to pay them too. It isn’t a noble idea or cause, but just shows what the GoE is willing to do with their citizens. Even the citizens who fled into asylum and sought refuge far away from the rulers of Asmara.
Therefore, the premiss for the tax is false. This isn’t done voluntary by the citizens in the diaspora. Neither is the whole thing made out of patriotic values or sentiments. Yes, the proclamations can speak of the martyrs and the families who lost their lives in the war of Independence. However, the monies are directed to the Bank of Eritrea and Ministry of Finance and Development. No one knows what happens with these funds after they are deposited. Neither are the any due diligence or accountability on the matter. The President and his men can spend these funds recklessly. Possibly create new asylum seekers by funding labour camps or keeping soldiers conscripted for years. Therefore, the Shabait must think people are stupid or blind.
This tax is only benefiting the elite and the inner-circle. They are getting a push and revenue to continue to operate their government. That is the gist of things here. While this tax is also a reminder where your loyalty lay and where your home is. So, the Eritrean government got a hold on you… even if you tried to flee into exile.
Home still haunts you and they want 2% of your earnings. You shall pay the percentages and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are directed to get you to pay them. Peace.