Contraband, Illicit Trade Threats to Nat’l Security and Economy: Somali State Chief Administrator
Addis Ababa Somali Regional State Chief Administrator, Mustafa Mohammed Omar, said contraband and illicit financial flow pose a growing threat to Ethiopia's security with dire implications for public safety and economic stability across the country.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Somali State Chief Administrator Mustafa Mohammed Omar said the spread of contraband and illicit trade as well as gun trafficking pose threats to Ethiopia's security, peace and economic development.
According to Custom Commission, close to 2 billion birr of contraband goods were seized in 2011 Ethiopian fiscal year alone. These included firearms.
Recently, the government of Ethiopia seemed to be convinced that contraband is becoming an issue of sovereignty, following the actions of criminal networks and illicit arms dealers.
Mustafa agrees that contraband and illicit trade have been threatening the national security of the country.
Noting that Somali Regional State has become one of the major hotspots of contraband, the chief administrator said the regional government is determined to end the practice jointly with the federal government.
The commitment is there at the highest level. But regarding actions to be taken to end this practice, there is a need to devise polices and strategies to be implemented at national level, he underscored.
The National Anti-contraband and Illicit Trade Taskforce chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen is working on reinforcing collaboration from the federal to the lower level in effectively controlling illicit trade and contraband.
Mustafa pledged that the regional state will take the direction and guidance of the National Taskforce and do clear assessment of where the biggest threats are and act on that.
However, he noted that the challenges of contraband and illicit trade are deep-rooted and gained a fertile ground in Ethiopia. The fight requires huge investment, according to the chief administrator.
He further underscored that the effort needs huge investment in terms of capacity in personnel, logistics and changing the mind set of the community in the border areas, considering the challenge that the people accepted contraband for a long time as a way of life.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency