Directive to pave way for exporters to sell coffee in foreign currency locally

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Gezahegn Mamo, CEO of Wild Coffee Ethiopia

Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA) drafts a directive that would allow value added coffee exporters to sale their products locally in foreign currency.
The directive that was tabled for further feedback from stakeholders, indicated that when enacted, value added coffee exporters will be at liberty to sale their export standard coffee to those having the legal rights to hold foreign currency, such as through the electronic system including credit cards.
For this directive to see the light of day, the financial sector’s regulatory body, National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), is said to give the green light, for the globally acclaimed Ethiopian coffee to be sold locally in foreign currency.
Similarly, the authority is said to monitor the operation of exporters trading locally.
Currently, as per a special permit given by NBE, roasted coffee exporting company, Wild Coffee Ethiopia, has been engaging in the sales of its high quality export coffee locally, in foreign currency.
Gezahegn Mamo, CEO of Wild Coffee Ethiopia, told Capital that his company has been in this line of business for the last about two years, with the license being renewed annually.
As Gezahegn explains, he provided a solid convincing angle for the central bank to allow him to sale his product locally in foreign currency. He also allowed the regulatory body to handle all the necessary cross checks so that no exploitation is done.
“Initially they were reluctant but I convinced them that Ethiopia is a diplomatic and conference hub in the continent to which several foreigners residing in the country need to have a taste of the premium coffee as long as they pay in foreign currency in close regulation of the central bank,” he recalled how he convinced NBE, adding, “In addition to sourcing foreign currency locally we have been exporting our coffee.”
Gezahegn also backed the latest move of ECTA citing that it is a move in the right direction.
The only thing they have to make sure is that the quality of the coffee and roasting facility maintains the required standard.
“Those who live in Ethiopia or come to visit or converge for a conference may buy the high quality coffee which is an opportune window to promote our coffee to the global coffee lovers without paying penny for advertisement,” said Gezahegn whilst supporting the proposed directive.
According to the draft directive, foreign visitors and travelers, embassies, international conference participants, and individuals who shall come up with legal foreign currency shall buy Ethiopian export coffee locally in foreign currency.
These buyers will have an option of using credit cards or electronics payment instrument to purchase the commodity.
However, according to the draft directive, if the national bank controls and approves the transactions, then a cash sale will be permitted.
With regards to the package labeling, the type of coffee, brand, trade mark, producing country, and date should be mentioned, in addition to marketing it as an export commodity on the package.
Exporters who get the nod to sell the product in foreign currency locally are expected to issue a receipt that mentions the place of sale, volume and value of the product.
Four star and above hotels, resorts and cafés, international airports, national parks, Unity Park, Friendship Park, Entoto Park are the centers where the value added export coffee product are to be sold.
The directive added that international convention centers, AU Headquarters and ECA are the facilities that Ethiopian value added coffee exporters can trade their products.
As per the draft directive, exporters who will be allowed to sale their commodity in foreign currency must fulfill different requirements including standards that allow keeping the quality of the commodity.
Traders are also expected to sale their commodity with minimum and above range of weekly price tags, while they have to report to the national bank for their daily transaction on a weekly basis.
So far the directive proposed that from the total export volume of value added coffee exporters shall sale the ten percent locally but as per the performance it presented to NBE, the coffee authority will look into revising the percentage.