ADDIS ABEBA – The Government of Ethiopia has announced a national plan which collaborates from central to the lower level of government to prevent contraband and illicit trade.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said contraband is becoming an issue of sovereignty, in addition to its adverse effects on the economy.
The joint efforts at all levels are crucial for the success of the plan and to curb the problem, Demeke said.
In the just-concluded fiscal year, officials confiscated goods worth 1.6 billion-birr ($56.3 million) items from contraband traders.
The majority or close to 1.3 billion Birr ($44.8 million) worth items was intercepted while coming into the country while the remaining is secured from outgoing smuggled goods.
The report stated that the goods are captured at 14 custom checkpoints across the country but a substantial amount was captured at Addis Ababa Airport customs checkpoint.
Deputy Prime Minister said contraband and illicit trade has become “a big challenge” to the ongoing economic reform.
“We should act collectively now to prevent contraband and illicit trade as it cancer for our economy,” said Demeke, who is also the chairperson of the national taskforce which targeted to lead the anti-contraband and illicit trade movement.
The government is working on abating contraband trade as a key priority in the current fiscal year, Demeke added.
The major items smuggled into the country include new clothes, electronics, food and drinks, narcotic drugs, cigarettes, medicines, vehicles, and spare parts and weapons, among others.
The main items captured going out of the country are foreign currencies of different countries in cash, narcotic drugs, food items, Khat (stimulant leaf), minerals and fuel as well as livestock.