The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) announced its decision to directly put up for sale hoarded items confiscated by its task force.
Kassahun Mulat, Director of Trade Research and Monitoring at the Ministry, told The Reporter that the Ministry has confiscated different kinds of metals hoarded in 13 different places in Addis Ababa.
The metals worth around 7 billion birr would be sold on the market. That would raise the supply of metals while the income generated would go to the government.
The Ministry also stated that it is going after those that hoard oil and other basic commodities. Confiscated items would similarly be sold on the market.
“We will not create more problems by closing the shops,” Kassahun said. He explained that the task force, established by the Ministry at a national level, has the mandate to determine whether certain products are stored illegally or not. And once it decides on the illegal status of the items stockpiled, the product would be directly sold on the market.
Kassahun highlighted that the Ministry’s actions seek to breakdown on the economic sabotage unfolding in the market and tackle the soaring inflation. By selling the product on the market, he explained, the Ministry intends to stabilize the market by expanding the supply base.
Kassahun told The Reporter that the Ministry is preparing to hold a three-part national forum to address the ongoing economic crisis and food price surge nationally. The first is consultation with the manufacturing sector, which was held in Addis Ababa last week and will continue at a federal level.
Secondly, consultations will be held with importers, with a special focus on food and construction importers. It was stated that the consultation will be held in accordance with the plan set by the task force. The third, also to be held according to the plans set by the task force, is to consult with cooperatives.
The Ministry held a meeting with regional and city administration business bureaus via a Webinar mid last week to identify the root causes of rising costs of living.
During the discussion, the absence of a system of pricing, mismatches between supply and demand and the tendency of consumer cooperative unions to go for higher profits were cited as reasons for the soaring inflation on basic commodities.
The Ministry said it is importing four million quintals of wheat, 36.8 million liters of oil and two million quintals of sugar in the coming weeks.