Central Bank Eases Forex Burden on Importers, Banks

Mar 22 , 2022

Importers and commercial banks are no longer required to cover the total cost of shipping goods in foreign currency, say regulators at the central bank.

A letter sent to the state-owned Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise (ESLSE) last week informed its executives that importers and banks need only pay half the transport fees in foreign currency, covering the rest in Birr. They attributed their move to a debilitating level of foreign exchange availability.

Signed by Yinager Dessie (PhD), governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the decision changes the 12-year-old practice covering the total freight costs in foreign exchange. Lately, the NBE has seen commercial banks “struggle" with mobilising forex due to the central bank’s tightened retention policies.

Commercial banks are to collect the transport fees in Birr before converting half into forex and transferring the amount to the shipping company at the end of every month.

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