Commission says it revokes duty-free privilege to curb illegal trade

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The Ethiopian Customs Commission announced Friday it has revoked the duty-free privilege, which is permitted through directive number 51/2010 approved by the Ministry of Finance, with a view to prevent illegal and contraband trade.

The directive exempts personal items such as professional cameras, laptops, external hard-drives, kitchenware and TV sets from tax, among others.

“Travellers have been abused the privilege. In addition, they have reduced the government revenue through their illegal and contraband trade,” said Debelle Qebeta, the Ethiopian Customs Commissioner in a press conference on Friday.

“Those illegal merchants are trading without having import trading license, Tax Identification Number (TIN), and formal banks authentication for their transactions,” he said.

“The traders have been travelling abroad 3 to 5 times in a month and making non-banked financial transactions, which is more likely to be exposed to black (parallel) market transaction,” he added.

The chain of those traders is long and complicated one, according to Debelle.

Clothes, electronics items and shoes are among the so-far imported items through abusing the previous privilege, said Debelle.



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