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Customs Commission partners Spotlight Communication

Customs Commission partners Spotlight Communication

A persistent issue in many parts of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Customs Commission is partnering with Spotlight Communication and Marketing to look at the impact and end contraband to end illegal trade within the eastern part of  Ethiopia where the issue has had more impact.

The Federal Customs Commission, Customs Branch Office of Harar and Dire Dawa, Bureau of Trade and Industry, Health Bureau, Revenue Bureau, and the Defense force along with stakeholders from the private sector, are involved in this effort.

“Every day we are victimizing children, mothers and the society with poor quality products,” said Dineer Ahmed, Deputy officer of Harar City Peace & Security Office, adding: “This is not solely the government’s problem; we should all be doing our part in defining the depth and breadth of the disaster and preventing the issue. We are also happy because the discussion started from the
city of Harar.”

With little infrastructure and advanced technology, there have been loopholes for many to take advantage of a system that has little protection against illegal trade.

 “Other than the day to day task of the Commission to combat illegal trade, the government is more determined than ever and has established and commenced operation of a National Tasks Force that is led by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Country,” Mulugeta Beyene, the Deputy Commissioner of the Ethiopian Customs Commission said adding: “If we all fight together in all areas of the problem, we can reduce illegal trade significantly.”

Furthermore, Mulugeta said “We can stand against illicit trade doing what is expected from us; that is by bringing contrabandists to justice, by refusing to buy illicit products, and as law enforcement agencies, by pushing our combat against illicit trade; we can protect our families and our siblings from products that have no ingredient or expiry information such as packed foods, medicines, ointments, cosmetics and illicit cigarettes.”

Among the commodities that are illegally traded is tobacco in Ethiopia in substitute to the National Tobacco Enterprise that has the only right to produce and sell the product.

Solomon Haile, the Head of the Anti-Tobacco Trade Function within the National Tobacco Enterprise said: “About 40 percent of the country's tobacco trade is illicit. And in the Eastern part of Ethiopia, 90 percent of the market share is contraband. Hence, this weakens the investment of the taxpaying organization that was privatized two years ago to foreign investors and also reduces the amount of revenue the government should have collected in the form of tax from the legitimate business.