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Getting the record straight with the 2% story in UK

Eritreans in London demonstrating in support of Eritrea and its 2% recovery and development tax

Getting the record straight with the 2% story in UK  

By Jamal T,

I was astonished to read the accusation that Eritreans in UK are being forced to pay the 2% tax as written in two articles by IBTimes on the 11th of February and during last summer; they present outright lies as truth. As Eritrean and a Muslim I do try to pay 10%  for building a mosque and help poor people within my family and our communities. Also I try to pay 2% contribution to my mother land Eritrea too. As I had been slower after the recession of 2008 and now I want to pay, but it seems that the Embassy has stopped collecting locally.

When you published your second article it made me realize actually about the fairness of the 2%, I am expected to pay the more to help the disadvantaged poor people and contribute towards building the country. I understand Christians are doing the same too. One has to be very clear that 2% recovery tax is voluntary with purpose of healing the destruction left by the war, is very much needed as the nation of Eritrea starting from scratch.

To us Eritreans our motherland has a position similar to our religion and to be expected to pay Eritrea’s 2% is minimal and fair expectation. The video( you posted on the 11th of February 2014 shows only a polite reply given to him by the Embassy staff.  She had rightly confirmed to him that he can pay the 2% recovery tax in Eritrea only that means only information was given to him. One must know that, we Eritreans have every right to voluntarily pay 2 %, to be self reliance and self sufficient rather than waiting handouts. Perhaps other African countries should follow our footsteps specially those who cannot manage without outside help year in year out. And this is true after 50 -60 years of independence if you look at their infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals above all food security capering with our country of 23 years old. Ask the majority of Eritreans whether Christians or Muslims they will tell the truth that we are not really forced under any circumstance government supporters and opponents alike. The  truth is anyone having Eritrean Id Card and visiting Eritrea is not asked about his contribution whether on his arrival or departure. It is understood that in due time he/she will fulfill the contribution. To your surprise even those who left the country illegally from the national service could go to their country to see their families and they are not questioned about either the 2% clearance or their illegal immigration.

I must be honest here the 2% contributions comes in to action when someone requests some kind of services, like land allocation and other government documents. Nation building is known as the biggest challenge for any country and specially Eritrea after 30 years bloody war against bigger country with the largest army in Africa first supported by the west and east. Remember our history and culture of voluntary participation in liberating our country, which we are adopting the same concept building through participation in any sense. Now let us come back to the concept of taxation and for example if I get a letter from UK government that I would be exempt from paying taxes I would only be too happy; however the case is I have to pay it like it or not. Actually I appreciate the values of tax collection to the Government.  In UK TAX is collected in various ways such as council tax, income tax, National Insurance contribution, Road Tax, etc. Sometimes it may be painful to pay all of them nevertheless, as a result of effective tax collection here in UK; we do have a very effective education system, an exemplar health system, the NHS looks after the whole nation, roads are built and managed, the welfare system ensures pensioners and unemployed are looked after effectively and many more good things. Small countries like Eritrea should aspire to achieve similar effectiveness and that is impossible to achieve without efficient tax collection.

We have to admit though, in UK and many other countries income tax and national contribution taxes are usually collected automatically (almost by force) or in the case of council tax we would be taken to court if we don’t pay. But it is not really common to complain that tax is collected by force but of course we would be happier if we pay less tax.  However paying tax is a duty of every one in any country, consequently it is pre-request to expect services from government.

Any way this is not the first time campaign against the 2% recovery tax for example over 15 years ago one Swedish MP from Eritrean decent raised the issues and after discussing in the parliament the MPs rejected the idea by saying any one has dual nationality is allowed to pay the 2% voluntary so the issue must be left to the individuals to decide for themselves. This time again another MP from Eritrean origin who stands not against the 2% but politically motivated took the case to the parliament and the majority of MPs rejected. So what is the fuss about? As declared by the Eritrean embassy by openly telling the Eritrean Community in the UK in May 2012 collecting 2% recovery Tax is technically in Asmara Eritrea only. This is public diplomacy and in fact I am aware the issue is communicated with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). If there is a need the FCO could monitor easily by checking the Eritrean Embassy bank accounts whether the collection stopped or not. Otherwise in our own country we could do what is good for the country people to people diplomacy. In other words if your country men are paying their lives you have to support their families which are morally & ethically sound. It is in every body’s mind that during the armed struggle, our struggle is going to be long with a great suffering but our victory is certain. As Rome is not built in one night and therefore nation building is harder than fighting for liberation and every citizen must add hands in whichever way. It is working for us we are on target and on track to realizing the Eritrean vision. The main advantage or benefit of the 2% contribution is the link it has created between those living inside and the diasporas, almost a culture you may not find in any other country.

When it comes to Eritrea the 2% tax is an expectation that is paid voluntarily I have never even received a request for payment and payment invoice. My two sisters even though they don’t earn as much as me are on time with their payments, I have to try do the same.

As for myself since I came to UK to join my wife about twelve years ago I have travelled to Eritrea few times. I had taken from Eritrean embassy the 2% clearance only once. I cannot tell you the reason as it is private however on other occasions I was even too busy to ask the embassy for the 2% clearance. I was never asked to produce it at the border point or at the immigration when I was requesting exit visa.

Just one more thing to tell you, my wife had to show her 2% clearance when she was asking the service of our marriage to take place in Asmara municipality. I did not here her complain about it. As for me I had done my military service until I was released for critical back injury. In fact, looking back I would have found it offending if she had been able to acquire the services for free while I had paid for it, then in Military service.

At the time of writing this essay/article I have decided to be more disciplined with paying the 2% on time as a way of showing support to my comrades, it is the least I could do. While I am suspicious of the motive of IBTimes  for spinning the 2% recovery tax for the second time demonstrating their clear agenda. I would like to advice them to look for the news that the Swedish Parliament had actually rejected ban on the Eritrea Diaspora (Recovery) Tax.

Finally we Eritrean believe in coexistence, tolerance, mutual cooperation and free expression but would not tolerate one sided and bias argument the way IBTimes is practicing, however we always want to know the other side of the story as well.

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Getting the record straight with the 2% story in UK Reviewed by Admin on 5:24 PM Rating: 5


  1. You shabians should stop destabilizing the whole African by supporting the terrorist group and join the World community be for totally cornered out in every directions of your movements .

  2. Who are you Manny H? Weyannea. You are trying to sing an old discredited song here, and it is not your place to comment here, get out of here!

  3. shut up nd get out of this website . This is not for the likes of you . Afraid of us helping our country are u ? U cant even get 10 people together to send 100 $ to mother Ethiopia you Kedami .

  4. Manny H(yenas) are not allowed to Madote.

  5. Yes, we will pay and should also raise the 2% to 5%!!

  6. Thanks! Jemal for your articulated article.
    Well Said!!!!!

  7. Thanks Jamal for the Article, no body, no one on Earth will stop me to pay my 2%and helping families of martyrs. It's my money.

  8. Manny H agamino, here we are 6 million shabians strong and stronger very day for ever. Long live eritrea and her people. And once again Manny agamino the beles Season is 4 month a way, and for a while I'm Sure There Is Some kointi and awhi for you in the land of the agame.

  9. Jemal well said comrade, you know we have as fathers, hero examples like Hamid Idris Awate, Ibrahim Sultan, Abona Weldeab Weldemaria and many others..

    Note: to those who blame, claim saying Hegdef, Shaebia ect..not willing to contribuite (2% tax), to the reconstraction of our country, for me sounds only an excuse to hide themselves from a responsability, otherwise is only speculation to be called Eritrean oneself..since someone else has paid his dear life to his homeland.

  10. Thank you Jemal hawna for the perfect and truthfull presentation. Well said. Well done brother. Your true love for your people is exhibited here.
    I was in Eritrea for 2 months and came back in January 2014. Before I left London, I asked the Eritrean embassy and they said to me to pay in Eritrea, they do not accept any payment here. I went to the housing bank and paid my dues. I do pay happily. It is just my duty to pay. It is my responsibility to abide by the law of the land. I pay because it is my duty. I pay it happily. When the enemies of Eritrea tried to stop us from doing what we want to do, I was one of the demonstrators in London, Geneva, Brussels . Those who want to pay are the ones who advocate against 2%. If any one does not want to pay, let them not pay, No one is to ask them to pay. , to the bank. But cannot stop me from paying. I go to Eritrea and pay my dues myself.
    the likes of IB Time who are paid agents of the enemies of Eritrea have no business in Eritrea, but because they are paid , they have to sent articles that pleases their wage payers. IB times has no business in eritrea and Eritreans in London. but as paid Agent he is capable of doing that. money is the motive and he does not even care to verify false accusations are fabricated information.

  11. Whether we pay 2% or 100% It is our business. All the accusation against our 2% from people and organisation who fear the Eritrean spirit. Or from those who want to make dirty money at any cost

  12. Well said Jamal! My experiences are similar to yours. From now on, I'm going to pay more than 2%. It's time to develop our country. These Weyane hyenas and their handlers are doing everything they can to harm our people.

  13. Well said Jamal! My experiences are similar to yours. From now on, I'm going to pay more than 2%. It's time to develop our country. These Weyane hyenas and their handlers are doing everything they can to harm our people..

  14. The real Question is who behind the IBTimes article? I am sure they would not do unless they are paid as well. The are trying to re-play an old out of Tune song. They are wasting their time.

  15. I would love to say to All mannered followers of good will, who partecipate reading, writing or commenting articles that comes from comunity or other media,
    please do not respond to those like the one called him self Manny H and others, cause it´s clear to understand from their routinary comment that are not constructive nor curious to follow, they are here only to disturb OUR WAY. If a comment seems to be inteligent without evident slander, it helps to clear articles, if we go behind them thinking they are righteous people, we loose our time and we risk also to spoil OUR SOBER WEB SITES, fulling with bad words trying to convince them naively. But if we ignore them not answering to thier comments they will desapair.

    It happen to me in a couple of occations to go to their level and insult them, but i learn is not a proper way of treat them. Ignore them is better. Even if they change nicks is easy to recognize them their language.

    Manuele kab Roma

  16. The TEFF you are eating in Eritrea is smuggled through Tigray boarder to save you from hunger so please act right if not we will block it not to happen and starve you .

  17. The shabians dogs are barking while the hyenas are passing and run for cover inside the fence when approached .

  18. Great article Jemal. But please, from now on, refrain from pointing out people´s religion. It´s completely irrelevant to the article. We´re all ERITREANS first of all.

  19. Who are you Susan Rice. Even the main accusers are now saying there has never been an evidence. For the record it is not diverted. Once again we only pay in Asamara.


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