Experts in the international trade arena, express concern that the country is not going in the right projectile as it is not fully tapping into its export earnings as required in this critical tie where there are price hikes in the global market. In related news, the international trade and promotion division at the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration receives a new state minister.
Concerned pundits argue that the local trading has become erratic stemming from different directions taken by relevant government bodies, unlike in the past.
“Illegal trading is expanding particularly in the contract farming scheme, which the government recently introduced where buyers or exporters are given access to commodities directly from farmers,” exporters and sector experts, who demand anonymity told Capital.
“With an exception of coffee, which registered marvelous achievements in the export trade, the export market has highly suffered because of illegal activities seen in the market,” the analysts explained as they cited that some individuals are misleading the government leaders, pushing them to introduce rules and regulations which only benefits them.
They explained that for instance illegal acts against the objective of emplacing contract farming are seen on the ground.
“Without any contribution on the farming activity, illegal actors are buying commodities through brokers unlawfully and use contract farming as a cover,” they say, adding, “regional administration does not properly understand the circumstance.”
“Currently, the government is highly interested to work with the private sector closely, which is much appreciated, while illegal actors in the private sector are using the opportunity to mislead government officials. They have used the opportunity to twist their own agenda by insisting officials to issue self-oriented and individual-centric directives and laws that are affecting the market and the nation in general,” pundits claimed.
According to experts in the direct purchase default from both sides, either traders or farmers is being observed.
Such kind of problems was a challenge for the market in the past which improved when the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) introduced its operation about a decade and a half ago.
“There are problems in ECX, however, rather than excluding the trading platform from the trading totally, overhauling its operation should opt as a wiser solution,” they said.
“International trade by itself needs highly experienced and competent professionals at the regulatory body, while the actual situation at relevant regulatory bodies is in contrary,” they stated.
Experts whilst providing advice stated that officials who understand the trickery of economic sabotage and identify challenges that face the market are the right leaders to take charge of the relevant office.
The specialists highlighted that this is a pivotal moment in the country where the country needs hard currency to cover imports. Moreover, since the international market is very lucrative in prices with regards to exports, it provides an opportune moment to fully capitalize on. However, the reality on the ground is different for Ethiopia. “We are not earning the required hard currency from agricultural commodity export,” the export specialists opined.
Besides economic sabotage experts have also stated that the conflict in the northern and western parts of the country has affected the sesame business, which is one of the major agricultural export items of the country.
In a related development, Kassahun Gofe has been assigned to lead the international trade and promotion as state minister for Trade and Regional Integration Ministry replacing Dhenge Boruu, who was assigned for the post when the new government was formed in October last year.
Prior to his appointment, Kassahun was state minister at for Ministry of Transport and Logistics in charge of the infrastructure sector.
Gurus on export and international trade argue that those who have relevant experience for the sector are required. “The country requires seasoned leadership qualities since there is no time to mold others through training new officials since new officials change every time. Using well-informed and experienced professional rather than paper-based merit is critical for the situation seen in the export sector,” experts underlined.
They said that otherwise, new leaders will be instruments for those who stand for self-interest against national interest.
Capital’s efforts to reach out to Gebremeskel Chala, Minister of Trade and Regional Integration through a phone call was unfruitful.