Navigate New Rules or Hit the Road: Trade Minister Tells Khat Exporters


Navigate New Rules or Hit the Road: Trade Minister Tells Khat Exporters

Gebremeskel Challa, Minister of Trade & Regional Integration (MoTRI) has ordered all khat exporters to undergo a re-registration process within the next three weeks. This sweeping reform he announced last week is part of a broader strategy to revive the flagging performance of the khat export sector. The Ministry’s stringent new guidelines include a requirement for GPS tracking devices on all transport vehicles used in the khat trade — a bid to enforce accountability and discourage illicit activities. Gebremeskel's directive comes in the wake of a disappointing export performance last year, which saw a precipitous drop in both volume and revenue, from 56,353tn, valued at 392.3 million dollars, to just 31,382tn worth 248.36 million dollars. This downturn contributed to an overall decline in the total export earnings, which slid from a peak of 4.2 billion dollars to 3.64 billion dollars. Of the approximately 4,991 registered khat exporters, only 486 were actively exporting last year, raising the authorities' concerns over the use of previously issued regional permits and the effectiveness of regulations. Gebremeskel's revamp is not only a domestic matter but also an international strategic play, particularly in the face of competition from the Kenyan khat market. His adjustment of the minimum threshold for exports to Somaliland is an attempt to boost competitiveness and reclaim lost market share.


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