Mogadishu’s Bakara market on strike for the second day
Mogadishu (Harar24) – For the second day business at Mogadishu’s Bakara market is at a still, as businessmen close their businesses in a sign of protest complaining of heavy taxes levied on them, including illegal taxes.
Businessmen of the Bakara market, the largest in Somalia, claim that they are taxed by different departments of the government and unauthorized individuals, causing their businesses much loss instead of gaining profit, and have threatened to keep their business shut until the government offers a solution.
Dahabo Ahmed, a female business owner selling clothing, who spoke to Harar24 over the phone, claimed that the businesses are being overburdened by all the taxes being taken, some which are taken on a daily basis. “When our goods arrive at the docks we pay the taxes on them to the government, when the goods are being transported to the market we are extorted under the pretext of “taxes” at various checkpoints, and finally when our goods arrive we get taxed daily by “officers”” she claimed.
According to many businessmen in the Bakara market, the most severely affected people by these taxes are small business owners and even stall owners, who face daily harassment from men in uniforms requesting taxes, often a times these owners are unable to pay the taxes, resulting in their goods getting smashed by the illegal “tax collectors” who are enraged by their “refusal”.
The closure of the Bakara market has been felt all over the city, as many other businesses and residents are dependant the functioning of the market. There have been many calls and requests asking the Somali government to intervene in the situation at the Bakara market and offer a solution to the mess caused, and if left unaddressed it’s feared that it will affect much of southern and central Somalia, whose businesses are also largely dependent on the Bakara market.