ETHIOPIA – The Ministry of Trade (MoT) has rationed the 40 million litres monthly import of edible oil among nine businesses which were previously selected.

The nine businesses include three endowments, one government and five private companies. The MoT selected these out of 300 businesses which had been engaged in the importation of edible oil, of which 70 were still active when the ban was imposed.

Recently, the government decided to lift the ban which had been in place since 2011, preventing private companies from importing edible oil. The new decision will be effective from next month, August 2015.

The companies selected for the importation business include Ambassel Trading Enterprise, Guna Trading Enterprise, Wondo Trade & Investment Enterprise, Alle Bejimla, a public enterprise outlet, Al-Sam Plc, Hamaressa Edible Oil S.C., Belayneh Kinde Import & Export, AHFA Complex Plc., and Biftu Trading.

Ambassel Trading Enterprise, a subsidiary of TIRET Corporate, an endowment established under the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), will import 6.2 million litres out of the total 40 million – a higher share of the oil, compared to the share of other companies.

Biftu, Wondo and Alle Bejimla will import 5.7 million litres, 4.9 million litres, and 4.6 million litres. Hamaressa will import 3.9 million litres, Al-Sam, 3.8 million litres, Belayneh Kinde 3.7 million litres, AHFA 3.57 million litres and Guna and 3.55 million litres, respectively.

The criterion used for the selection of the nine companies is that they are engaging in the production of palm oil, having already received farms.

Not everyone in the industry, however, is pleased with the selection process which left many out of the business.

“We have been in the business for a long time; it is unreasonable to exclude us,” complained one former importer who was displeased with the action taken by the MoT.

“The selected ones did not even start planting, as they received the farms after being selected,” he added.

Excluded now are Get-As, Camels Trading, and Country Trading, which, in 2011, had imported the 13 million litres of palm oil together with Al-Sam International and AHFA Plc, the whole of which was appropriated by the government from the Port of Djibouti, compensating them for their costs only.

The selected importers will also be responsible for the distribution of the oil they import.

Amhara Region gets 11.6 million litres from Ambassel, Alle Bejimla and Balayneh Kinde while Oromia follows by 10 million litres that it will get from Al- Sam, Hamaressa, Allebejimla, Belayneh Kinde, AHFA and Biftu.

The third beneficiary of the monthly import will be Addis Abeba getting 7.6 million litres a month from Guna, Al- Sam, Alle Bejimla, Belayneh Kinde and AHFA. Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region gets the fourth highest lot that amounts to 7.4 million litres, trailed by Tigray at 2.3 million litres a month.

Somali, Afar and Benshangul Gumuz get the least, at 1.8 million litres, 967,300 litres, and 712,269 litres, respectively.

Currently, 37,800 metric tonnes of palm oil are distributed across the country weekly.

July 23, 2015;