The newly appointed PM Abiy Ahmed (Phd) who met business community last Monday at the Sheraton hotel said that his government will tirelessly work to cut the supply of foreign currency circulating in the black market.
Currently one dollar is sold up to 35 birr in the black market which is more sees a seven birr difference per dollar from the banks.
“We can’t continue like this, the rich people do not have problem if they buy one dollar at 30 or 40 birr but such thing is making hard currency shortage as a government we have strong plan to battle the black market and I would like to say the people who are involving in the black market to stop doing their illegal work.”
Abiy stressed that the black market will not be tolerated anymore and he claimed that operators of the black market that are doing business behind Ethiopia Hotel openly might have much foreign currency available than state owned banks.
“The black market is another area of focus. If some of you are players in the black market, you better stop,” Abiy warned the gathering.
He also called upon them to bring back their money they deposited in China and Dubai.
“We will one day reach the level we can negotiate with foreign countries to bring such deposits as China does. We won’t tolerate people stealing from us and depositing it somewhere else,” he cautioned.
He also said that the country’s foreign currency shortage will not be solved for the next 15 to 20 years.
According to Abiy, the campaign by the Diaspora not to send money to Ethiopia, the black market, and frequent travels by officials are the main factors behind the foreign currency shortages in the country. He said that this is apart from the dwindling export revenues over the past years.
“We are among few African countries that have a huge number of migrants abroad, but ironically, our remittance is much smaller than other African countries,” Abiy said. “Stopping remittance by the diaspora is not the proper way to punish the government. We don’t punish children by denying them their dinners.”
The PM also advised the business community to save their tap water, electricity and fuel consumption.
“Most of us think that we let the light on in our home or office by thinking that we have the money to pay for the bill but what we don’t understand it is the saving that can be used for other people who don’t have a power in their home.”
“As a government we have big problem like corruption. Honestly speaking a lot of development has been done in this government but the corruption is also a huge challenge for us. We don’t need officials to take your money. We need government offices to do the job to make more business in our country not take money from your business, if government officials need to make money, they can leave their office and choose to do another business.’’