The Ethiopian government announced today it has fixed retail prices of 17 commodities in Addis Ababa market.
In a discussion prepared for some 500 business firms at the Prime Minister’s office this morning, the Ministry of Trade warned the participants not to sell major consumer goods above the maximum price set by the ministry.
Bread, rice, imported milk, soap, beer, soft drinks, orange, banana, pasta, meat, paint, corrugated sheet, exercise books and pen are the commodities listed by the ministry. Fixing prices of these commodities will protect the consumers from the ever increasing prices, according to the ministry.
“The current market price of these commodities is abnormal and artificial,” said State Minister of Trade Ahmed Tussa to the manufacturers, importers and wholesalers invited to attend the meeting.
Price escalation being observed in the country is caused by speculators of the market, according to Ahmed. “The prices we now set for these commodities will be revised whenever there are major international or local situations that lead to fluctuation of commodity prices,” he said.
The ministry also plans to fix prices of other commodities in its next round commodity prices fixing measure. According to this new rule of the government, a retailer is expected to sell one kilogram of sugar for 14 birr, one kilogram of meat for 52 birr and a kilogram of rice for 12 birr and 40 cents.
While, prices of one kilograms of pasta, orange and banana are set to be sold by 18 birr and 50 cents, 7 birr and 50 cents and 5 birr, respectively. One beer (smaller size) will also be sold for 7 birr and 10 cents while a soft drink costs 4 birr and 20 cents to the maximum as of January 7, 2011 at any shop in Addis Ababa.
According to the ministry, regional commodity prices of the all the 17 items will be calculated based on the new prices adding transportation and labor costs. Palm oil, which is item presented by the ministry as the 18th commodity to be sold 16 birr and 50 cents per liter, was not accepted as the current global price of palm oil is above the retail price the ministry came up with.
Director of Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority, Melaku Fenta on his part indicated that such continuous commodities price hike will lead the country into dangerous economic, social and political crises unless regulated by the government.
“We are not violating the free market economy we all aspire to see developed in our country, it is about fighting oligopoly and collusion, which created artificial commodity prices,” Melaku said.
He indicated that in the current situation of Ethiopia, few big importers and producers have the potential of setting any prices of certain commodities whenever they want.
Read More from: newbusinessethiopia