Ministry orders banks to freeze LC issuance for import of 38 products

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Ministry of Finance has informed banks to freeze issuance of Letters of Credit (LC) to import 38 types of products as of Monday 17 October, according to a report from FBC.

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has also further emboldened the measure. Fikadu Digafe, NBE’s Deputy Governor and Chief Economist was quoted by FBC as saying, “The ban will last indefinitely.”

FBC quoted Fikadu as saying that, “The products that are banned from being imported have been researched and were found to be not priority items to obtain sufficient foreign currency. The products were also identified as reasons for the proliferation of illegal money transfer.”

Accordingly, prohibited products include drinks (whiskey or beer and other alcoholic beverages), chewing gum, chocolate, water, cigarettes, artificial accessories and related materials, among others. It also applies to cars that are imported by private individuals.

NBE said the decision was taken based on a direction set by the National Macroeconomic Committee.

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