The Trade and Industry Bureau of the Addis Ababa City Administration said it supplied over three million liters of edible oil to the market through trade unions and consumers’ associations operating in the city to offset the chronic shortage and skyrocketing price of the commodity during Easter and the upcoming Eid al-Fitr.
In an exclusive interview with The Reporter, the Head of Communication Affairs of the Bureau, Daniel Miesie said the bureau has been preparing for a long time ahead of the Easter holiday to address critical issues related to the distribution of consumption goods.
The Director said that the Bureau has already established a temporary task force to respond to shortages by delivering products while also delivering guidelines for proper distribution.
“For instance, we have gathered over three million liters of oil from local sources and a huge volume of oil has been imported from abroad,” Daniel told The Reporter. He added “As a result, edible oil products are being distributed since Tuesday through consumers’ associations. The use of these associations and trade unions allows the supply of products to consumers at fair price,” he remarked.
He further stated that they have taken legal measures against those who sabotage the market and set unreasonable prices across market centers in Addis Ababa.
According to Daniel, in addition to the stated amount of oil, more than 20,000 quintals of Teff and 10,000 quintals of wheat-flour have so far been delivered and distributed through consumer associations as of Tuesday.
Concerning the upcoming holidays, he further indicated that the task force is exclusively tasked with monitoring business activities in a bid to control and prevent illegal trade practices such as contraband (black market), setting high prices and hoarding.
According to Daniel, this monitoring and supervision activities focus on selected business centers and market areas.
The director said that over the past three days alone (from Monday to Wednesday), the task force checked and inspected a total of 74 warehouses in Addis Ababa.
According to him, the task force has taken legal action against 13 businesses, which were found to have violated the law. Of these stated number of businesses, he explained, three were found selling products at an exaggerated price, while few were caught operating without legally recognized receipts. The rest were involved in hoarding.
It is to be recalled that in a bid to address the shortage of products in the local market, the government had passed a decision to allow the duty free import of basic consumer goods. The first batch of food items and related basic consumer goods are expected to arrive in less than two weeks.
“Following the recent decision of the government, we will have more product items imported after 15 days. That is expected to fill the existing gap in the market. With these products, we will have surplus and that subsequently cuts down price in the market,” Daniel told The Reporter.