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Vendors protest taxation policies

Dried-fish vendors at a market in Arakan state’s capital Sittwe protested municipal authorities policies that promote “high” taxes last Friday.

The vendors on 11 May marched to the Arakan state’s cabinet office and demanded authorities to look into the market’s tax policies, which the merchants claim are unfair.

“[Vendors] have to pay tax when they get fish from the river and they have to pay again when they put these fish [up] for sale and once again when they sell it,” said secretary of the Rakhine [Arakan] Nationalities Development Party Aung Myat Kyaw in Sittwe. “Having been repeatedly subjected to this, they have lost their tolerance and went protested.”

According to the party official, vendors and municipal authorities have been in talks, which are reported to be going smoothly.

In a similar instance, more than 100 vendors from Nazi village in Sittwe on 7 May marched to the house of Arakan state’s chief minister to protest high taxes.

“[Vendors] make around 1,000 Kyat from selling their home-grown vegetables, but then they have to pay the market tax that is around 800-900 Kyat – so they would usually go home with merely 200 Kyat in their pockets,” said Aung Myat Kyaw.

The protest ended when the Arakan State’s Municipal Department decided to revoke the tax license from the private entity authorities had outsourced the job to. Municipal authorities commonly outsource taxing responsibilities throughout Burma.


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