ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Thursday close to 40 companies have begun to produce sanitizer and medical face mask in a bid to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of these companies were previously producing pharmaceutical products and have now turned their manufacturing line into sanitizer production to satisfy local needs.
It is part of the ongoing measures taken by the government to increase sanitizer and medical masks availability in Ethiopia, said Teka Gebreeyesus, State minister of trade and industry, during a press conference on Thursday.
The government has also distributed over 2.5milion litters of technical alcohol collected from Sugar factories to be used as input sanitizer production.
Teka said over 200,000 litters of sanitizers produced by these firms have already been distributed to the public.
The government has temporarily lifted 60 percent excise tax levied on technical alcohol to encourage the availability of the input for manufacturers, he added.
The ministry, apart from encouraging factories to produce sanitizers, is taking measures on counterfeit products.
“We have seen various counterfeit products in the market,” he said, “and taken measures on some people who were adulterating unknown chemicals to make sanitizers”.
This is “really unacceptable both morally and legally”, he added. The ministry has closed over 7000 businesses that have been engaged in illegal business activities since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Ethiopia.
“The violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Teka.
By Sisay Sahlu