Kenyan exporters to Ethiopia face massive losses

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The Standard :By Luke Anami

Kenyan exporters could lose millions of shillings after Ethiopia, a key market, implemented price controls on major food and non-food items, mostly imported from Kenya.

In what has been dubbed a shocking move by free market campaigners, the Federal Ministry of Trade of Ethiopia set price ceilings for products entering its market.

Kenyan manufacturers have since cried foul over the move.

‘‘This month, the Ethiopian Government has imposed price ceiling on major commodities to stamp out inflation. Unfortunately, the price of some items doesn’t take the current international market into account,’’ Polycarp Igathe, Deputy Chairman Kenya Association of Manufacturers said.

The affected products include edible oils, pasta and macaroni, powder milk, which are largely manufactured in Kenya.

In addition, soap, pens and textbooks, textiles, shoes, steel sheets, medicine and medical supplies, and tiers are slated for price fixing.

The move has, however, affected not only Ethiopians, in the retail business but also those who have already ordered items from outside the country.

‘‘The dictum on price ceiling may have serious impact on Kenyan manufacturers. We expect massive cancellation of manufactured goods if the matter is not looked into,’’ Igathe who is also the MD of Haco Industries said in an interview.

Ethiopia’s minister for Trade, Ahmed Tusa said the decision was taken to curb inflation, which has currently declined.

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