www.thereporterethiopia.com By Birhanu Fikade
Maintaining declining trends of performances, in the first half of Ethiopian fiscal year (EFY), the commodity exports fetched USD 1.35 billion missing its target revenue of USD 2.24 billion for the period.

A brief six-month performance report obtained from the Ministry of Trade by The Reporter revealed that export trade concluded in six months is short of meeting the target that was set. Export revenue fell short of USD 855 million or 61.2 percent when compared to the target. The export figures appear to be approximately close to last year’s similar period that saw only a USD 114.28 million or a 9.3 percent higher value.

The Ministry has categorized the export revenue in terms of agricultural commodities, manufactured goods and minerals. Hence, from the exported items, agricultural commodities export bill was at USD 1.03 billion. However, the expected revenue to be generated was set at USD 1.43 billion. From the report, the minerals export is the least performing revenue source collecting USD 58 million during the stated period. The export of manufactured goods helped generate close to USD 224 million. This sector, which was expected to generate USD one billion from the Hawassa Industrial Park, which the government of Ethiopia spoke about as a game changer in the export sector, is still in the making. According to the campaigns launched by the government, foreign firms housed in the industrial park should have generated the extremely sought after hard currency.

However, the Ministry ascertained that the magnitude and increasing trend of contraband trade has seriously jeopardized the export sector and still remains as one of the major pitfalls for the poor performance registered for the past consecutive years.

The paradox is that there are about 137 countries receiving Ethiopia’s exports, while most of them are buying a few volumes of commodities such as coffee and khat. Out of these countries, Somalia stands out to be the second top ten destinations following China. According to the report, last year, Somalia was on the top of the top-ten list.

Predominantly, Somalia buys huge amounts of khat every year from Ethiopia. During the last six months, USD 120 million worth of khat and a few other commodities have been exported to Somalia contributing some 14 percent share. Atop from the top ten countries, China has bought commodities valued at USD 144 million.

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