New check points to halt gun, money smuggling

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In order to put a stop to contraband smuggling, Revenue Minister, Adanech Abebe, announced the setup of 40 new customs checkpoints.
The Ministry is also making other improvements like, restructuring institutions, modernizing systems, improving procedures and reviewing regulations.
They have also relocated some checkpoints after observing ‘hot spots’ of firearm and foreign currency smuggling.
The Ministry will also deploy 1,410 customs police, accountable to the federal police.
The ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Police to deploy officers primarily at checkpoints near border areas.
Adanech said the new police force will specifically work to control contraband trade, which is significantly affecting the country’s economy and threatens the country.
At the end of the last fiscal year, the Ministry collected 213 billion birr in tax. This fiscal year they hope to collect 306 billion birr.
According to Commissioner Debele Kabeta, illegal arms, clothing, foreign currency and expired medicine are frequently smuggled into Ethiopia. In the last nine months, the ministry seized over 182 million birr in foreign currency.
Firearm trafficking in Ethiopia has been skyrocketing. They have been largely coming from Sudan. They are brought across the border on foot or via pack animals. Some are hidden in automobile tires, doors, fenders, bumpers, fuel tanks, and other secret compartments of trucks, and trains.
Jigjiga, Harer, Diredawa, Gedamaitu and Nazreth are known to be major centers for storing and trading contraband goods.