Although we have sorted out the insurance for the car, we have hit a total no go area in trying to get permission to keep the car in Ethiopia. The problem is this; If you want to import a car to Ethiopia, you have to pay around 250% tax – the figure changes from time to time and depending on who you speak to, but it’s many thousands of pounds. So consequently, most people do not have a car and those who do, often have a very battered car that could not be described as anywhere near roadworthy. So cars are a highly treasured commodity. Although we only want to temporary import our car, there is always some concern that we will not take the car out at the end of our stay but will instead, sell it at a vast profit. Hence before we came out here we had to buy an international carnet, which is in effect and insurance policy that covers us in the event that the car is not taken out of the country. I think the idea is that the insurance would pay the Ethiopian government the tax if we were to remain here with the car. However, the catch is that you have to be a tourist in order to use the carnet. As you will gather from previous blogs, we are no longer considered to be tourists but rather, residents. So when our visas run out in December, the car has to leave Ethiopia. The only way around this is to have the car here as a volunteer – which of course, we are. There is a very large catch here though; in order to get permission from the government to have the car here as a volunteer, you have to sign over the car to either the charities agency or the ministry of health (both government organisations). Hence you often see government officials driving around in large, presumably donated, 4x4 cars. So we have hit this brick wall in officialdom and haven’t the foggiest idea how to move beyond it.
On a positive note, the car seems to be running OK now so hopefully, the little problem of the engine light has resolved itself.