(March 13, 2024, Addis Ababa) The Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG International) in collaboration with the Ethiopian Cities Association (ECA), the European Union (EU) and the Federal Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Finance (MoF) organized a national conference on the topic of property tax in Ethiopia and the case of Yirgalem city of the Sidama Region today here in Addis Ababa.

Mr. Rolf Swart, Business Development Manager (Global) of VNG International, who gave the opening speech at the two-day conference, said that one of the main objectives of the United Local Government in Ethiopia four-year project is to build the institutional capacity of Ethiopian Cities Association (ECA).

He said that due to doing so, ECA is increasing its income every year besides increasing the number of members as well. Mr. Rolf added that although Yirgalem is a small city, the change in municipal revenue is something other big cities can learn from.

According to Ms. Alexandria Tor, who was the guest of honor on behalf of the European Union, she is proud to represent here the EU as a funder to this important project, which results can be valuable for the upcoming proclamation on Property Tax.

She remarked that the transparent and efficient taxation system is the key component of social trust as it enables people to see how their money is managed by the authorities to contribute to their well being.

Ms. Aleksandra added that ULGE project focuses on supporting municipalities and cities to enhance their capacities to deliver services to people and EU strongly believes that strengthening local governments is a key to its broader support to the Governance sector in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the Board President of the Ethiopian Cities Association the Mayor of Yirgalem City, Ato Terefe Muluneh, said that ECA is developing the best practices of Yirgalem City’s municipal revenue enhancement and organizing various platforms  and expanding it to its member cities.

On the opening day, the best practice of property tax in sub-Saharan countries local government was presented by Dr. Wilson Pickard and discussed, and it was also announced that other topics will be presented and discussed later.

In this conference, the senior officials and experts of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Urban and Infrastructure, the heads and representatives of the Regional Urban and Infrastructure Office, mayors and management members of ECA participated.

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