Ethiopia: Widespread contraband trade crippling economy

ESAT News (June 14, 2017)

High level contraband trade by government officials has become a threat to the country’s economy as foreign exchange trade is in downward spiral, according to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade.

Government officials at all levels were the main players in the import/export contraband trade and unless the country acts quickly, the illegal trade could cripple the economy, Bekele Bulado, the minister of Trade told Ethiopia’s Parliament.

He said government officials should practice what they preach the public about corruption and contraband trade.

The minister cited gold and cattle as the main targets of the illegal trade by government officials and their cronies.

As a result, the minister said, the country was able to obtain only 2.53 billion dollars of the planned 4.3 billion dollars in foreign exchange in the budget year, showing 59% less than the target.

A 2011 Global Financial Integrity report shows illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia nearly doubled in 2009 to US$3.26 Bln.