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Most export earnings lower than expectation

The Ethiopia Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) registered revenue below the target it set for the third quarter of the 2012/13 fiscal year.
Efrem Mekonnen, Public Relations head of ERCA, stated that the total revenue collected in the past nine months is 62.2 billion birr, which is 83.5 percent of the 74.5 billion birr it targeted to collect. ERCA’s projection is to collect 101.6 billion birr from tax and revenue in the current fiscal year.
The report released on Monday indicated that ERCA collected 33.4 billion birr from local taxes, which is about 3 billion birr lower than expected, and earnings from exports were 28.7 billion birr, 76 percent of its target.
During the same period last year, ERCA earned 26.4 billion and 26.3 billion birr respectively from the above-stated tax and revenue sources. The other revenue source for the Authority is lottery. According to the report, the Authority earned 71.8 million birr or about 82% from what it targeted; still  9.4 million birr more than it collected during the past fiscal year from this revenue source. The report presented at the Ghion Hotel on Tuesday showed that revenue earned in the first nine months of the current fiscal year from different taxes in Addis Ababa has been successful. It indicated that from July 2012 to April 2013, ERCA collected 7.1 billion birr, which is 99.6 % of the target it had set, from the various tax sources.
In the past nine months, the Authority has given out about 24 billion birr’s worth in duty-free scheme privilege, which represents an increment of 3.8 billion from the same period in the past fiscal year. The duty-free privilege scheme was given to both private and state enterprises, that benefited 8.4 billion and 5.7 billion birr’s worth, respectively. 
The duty-free privilege offered represents 38.4 percent of the total revenue earned in the stated period  or 83 percent of the revenue collected from exports in the past nine months. In the stated period, the Authority had set a target of collecting 15.5 billion birr in accrued taxes from its major income sources -the highest taxpayers being east and west Addis Ababa zones and Adama branches. In the past nine months however, the Authority had been able to collect just 2.3 billion birr, including penalty and interest payments. 
In the past nine months, the country earned USD 2.238 billion from exports, which is 2.7% higher when compared with the same period in the past fiscal year.
Ethiopia’s export earning from coffee beans is still at the forefront, but it can be discerned from the report that most other export items have not registered significant growth. In the first three quarters of the fiscal year, the country earned USD 515.4 million from coffee exports, which has registered a growth of 2% when compared to last year. Gold export is the second highest in terms of earnings, bringing in USD 432 million and has shown an increase of almost 4%. An unexpected export performance was registered from the export of oil seeds, which has become one of the major export items of the country for the past several years. Even though it sits third in terms of earnings with USD 322.6 million, it has shown a gradual decrease of 3.6 percent compared with the first three quarters of the 2011/12 budget year.
Khat, also one of the major agricultural export items, has contributed USD 199 million to export revenues and is one of the main export items that have registered relatively higher growth, showing a 10 percent increase. The other item that has significantly grown is the export of pulse, with USD 170.6 million in earnings, a marked increase of 60 percent from last year, where earnings were USD 106 million. Moreover, finished leather exports have registered appreciable growth in the past nine months. According to the report, hard currency revenue earnings from finished leather export is USD 74.5 million; a growth of 167 percent when compared to the same period last year. Needless to say that the directive enforcing the ban on exports of unfinished leather products has played a vital role in the growth of exports of finished leather products.
Textile exports, which the government has given priority to in the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), has brought in earnings of USD 74 million, registering a relatively good performance with an increment of 17% from last year’s revenues. Flower, livestock, meat and meat products, vegetables and fruit, spices and other items’ exports have all registered lower income. The above-stated items’ returns have decreased by 4.3%, 20.7%, 10%, 5%, 24% and 35% respectively.