By Hailegebriel Endeshaw
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – The Ethiopian Customs Commission here that Security Forces have not been cooperative enough to prevent Khat smuggling out of the country from Somali Region and the environs. The weekly Amharic Reporter said in its Sunday issue that the Security Forces of Somali Region and other forces deployed in the area have not been showing cooperation to support the legal export of Kaht.
Deputy Commissioner of Customs Law of the Ethiopian Customs Commission, Muluken Beyene told Reporter that Khat has been smuggled out of the country on the pretext of “domestic consumption”.
The Commissioner said that Somali Region and other security forces deployed in the area have not been cooperative enough to support legal export procedure as per customs laws and through conviction of exporters.
Due to this, as the Khat export is at risk, efforts are being made to the level of standing guard overnight watching the product, not to lose the foreign currency the country should get in the sector, according to Muluken. He said that efforts are being exerted to follow the legal Khat export process.
Muluken said that though the contraband challenges are multi-faceted, failure to coordinate and collaborate in defense of the illegal exporting practice is the biggest challenge. “Customs Commission and Federal Police are not the only responsible bodies to prevent Khat smuggling out of the country. Regional customs bureaus including security bodies should also come forward to support the endeavors,” Muluken said.
There are some regions, which are standing against the initiatives taken to prevent Khat smuggling out of the country; the commissioner said adding that the Customs Commission is not fighting only with smugglers in the City Zone, a place located in Somali Region.
Muluken said that armed militias in the City Zone are supporting smugglers. “Here, as the armed militias support smugglers and traders, it has been very difficult to prevent and curb the problem,” according to Muluken.
To give a lasting solution to the problem and prevent the community from aligning with illicit traders, multi sectoral efforts are being made by raising awareness among the people.
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