rucks coming from djibouti port, Afar region, Semera, Ethiopia (Photo Eric Lafforgue)

Lawmakers Start Discussing Customs Bill 

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has continued to push its effort to ease of doing business in the country with a move to amend its Customs law.

The new bill amending Customs Proclamation No. 859/2014 was endorsed by the Council of Ministers in May.

The move aims at addressing practical problems and creating a conducive doing business environment in Ethiopia.

The bill, tabled before parliament on Tuesday, also targets to ease challenges related to enforcing customs procedure code, cargo trucking systems and facilitate trade across borders.

Among other things, foreign transport trucks will be allowed to enter into Ethiopian territory with a temporary pass and without guarantee.

But it may be carried out based on agreements with the countries of their origin, it says.

The bill also lifts the ban on Ethiopian businesses that have projects abroad or visiting foreign countries to take their cars or properties with them temporarily.

This will ease challenges Ethiopian businesses face when winning major project bids abroad, it says

Ease of doing business

On Monday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called for more work to improve Ethiopia’s rank in the World Bank’s ease of doing business.

The East African nation is currently ranked at 159th out of 199 countries.

The PM-led ministerial initiative has been engaging in major reforms that are staged to place the country in the top 100 lists of countries, according to some officials, within three years.

The initiative has been working on easing trade registration, business solvency, and liquidation. The newly proposed bill is part of this process.

Against Misuse privilege

The new bill also proposes penalties on those who misuse deputy free privileges.

The bill says duty-free items are either being used inadvertently or transferred to third parties once they enter into the country.

In addition to taking possession of the items, the bill proposes for a penalty on those illegally involved in it.

The proclamation was referred to its respective standing committee for further discussions.