Ethiopia Lost Billions of Birr through Illicit Trade: Scholar

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Addis  Ababa June 25/2019   Ethiopia has lost the revenue of 9 billion birr from illicit trade of textile, pharmaceuticals and tobacco during 2013-2018, a scholar said.


Ethiopia hosted on Tuesday the 4th Global Illicit Trade Summit organized by the Economist Magazine, which is aimed at tackling the ever-growing illicit trade activities across Africa.

The summit deliberated on major causes of illicit trade and on ways to find lasting solutions while the continent is moving towards deeper integration.

Assistant Professor of economics at Addis Ababa University, Fenta Mandefro, said on the panel discussion during the summit that the illicit trade within the three sectors alone during 2015-2016 has impacted in the loss of jobs for about 17,000 Ethiopians.

According to him, formal and informal businesses and officials who provide protections for smugglers are part of the growing illicit trade in the continent.

He pointed out that experts estimate that 48, 45, and 30 percents of textile, tobacco and pharmaceuticals respectively of the domestic market share is channeled through illicit trade.

Similarly, about 40 percent of the local market is covered with supplies from illicit trade that includes all commodities.

Customs Commissioner, Debele Kebat said that smugglers deliberately move almost anything across borders to avoid taxes and secure illegal competitive advantage is one of the various factors for illicit trade.

The task of fighting against illicit trade should not solely be left to the federal police and customs, he said, and stressed “However, all stakeholders such as law enforcement bodies, local and regional organizations, international organizations and private sectors need to discharge their share in curbing illicit trade.”

Illegal trade has adverse effects on the economic and political wellbeing of the country, he said, and added that the government may possibly be obliged to increase taxes in order to finance development programs.