COVID-19: Ethiopia Continues to Take Action on Illegal Traders

ADDIS ABABA – The ministry of Trade and Industry has continued to take several measures to stabilize the market which is being affected by illegal businesses since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Following the confirmation of the first case, the prices of essential items have increased as consumers started to panic shopping.

The government reported in mid-March that it took measures on over 7, 400 businesses that chose to exploit the situation by increasing prices and engage in various illegal activities.

The ministry has continued to take action this month as well after more than 7500 traders were found to be involved in several illegal activities.

“The government has taken several measures on 15,000 businesses after they were found involved in illegal business practices,” said Wondmu Filate, spokesperson of the Ministry.

Hundreds of them are now serving time in prison, according to reports.

The illegal activities include adulteration, hoarding of essential commodities, price escalation and other related issues.

Apart from acting on disrupters of the market, the ministry said it is easing access to essential items to stabilize the market.

Wendmu told reporters on Friday that the ministry has availed 1.5 million quintals of wheat from national disaster and risk management commission’s reserve.

This is in addition to 615,000 quintals of wheat that the government procures monthly.

The government will also make 900,000 quintals maize available through Ethiopian Trading Businesses Corporation (ETBC) for similar purposes while allowing businesses who have a Diaspora account to import basic commodities.

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