New importers to start supplying palm oil


The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) announced that the 24 selected edible oil importers are processing letter of credit (LC) to fill the market demand, while local pressers claim they are neglected to access foreign currency.
Wondimu Filate, head of Public Relation at MoTI said that the selected companies are in the LC process for the past one month and in the near future they will commence importing oil.
From the 24 selected palm oil importers, four are party affiliated endowments from four regional ruling parties of Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, and SNNP and Ethiopian Industrial Input Development Enterprise (EIIDE), a public enterprise is also included on the list.
In a letter MoTI wrote to the state financial giant, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, it requested the bank to give priority for the companies to allocate the scares hard currency to import consumer goods that consumes over half a billion dollar every year.
Meanwhile oil pressers in the country claimed that they did not get such kind of special attention by the government to import the crude oil.
They claimed that it takes several months to get the foreign currency to import semi products, while the government is giving better attention for finished product importers.
“Our operation is the value addition business that saves more foreign currency since we import the crude,” one of the pressers, who demands anonymity told Capital adding that their investment has also created several jobs, which is not the same for the finished product importers.
“We understand why the government support importers to import the basic commodity but similar attention should be given for local investors,” the presser claimed.
Wondimu said that the 24 importers are selected in different criteria including their future strategy to engage on the production of the commodity in the country. “Oil pressers shall also play on the import of the finished product,” he told Capital.
“The government is providing several incentives like financial support, import of crude oil on duty free manner for local pressers besides involving on the import of finished oil,” he argued.
However pressers ridiculed his argument and stated that access to foreign currency is very difficult for them to import the crude.
“We are waiting on the line like other industry to access the foreign currency at banks but other importers are getting support from government,” they said.
Since July 2015 the government selected ten palm oil importers including the four party affiliates and one public enterprise until it stopped last September 2019.
In the past few months EIIDE filled the gap in market until regions give selected companies to import the oil. Every month 40 million litter of oil is imported to the country.
This time around Amhara region selects five importers that will import the total quota for the region which is 7.76 million litter per month.
Oromia, which is the biggest consumer with over ten million litter per month has selected seven importers.
The other biggest consumer of the product by 7.58 million litter per month is Addis Ababa, and selected three private companies and EIIDE.
For SNNP four importers will supply 7.4 million litter per month.
The supply for Tigray will be done by Gunna that imports 2.3 million litters for a month.
Dire Dawa and Afar will get the product from EIIDE and other regions select one company each for the supply.