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The Addis Ababa Trade Bureau in collaboration with the National Intelligence and Information Service Bureau and Trade Ministry has closed 74 shops in Addis Ababa in the last month for exchanging hard currency at their businesses. The majority; 64, of the shops are located in Kirkos sub city, four are in Bole and six are in Addis Ketema.
During the black market raid USD 80,615, Euro 13,750, and 8,877 Saudi Riel were confiscated from the shops. In addition 3,237 UAE Dirham, 1,130 Yuan, 83,000 Libyan Dinar, 423 Kuwaiti Dinar, 3 Oman Riel, 173 Bahrain Dinar and 2,870 South African Rand were also confiscated. There was also 12.4 million birr confiscated that was going to be used to exchange the hard currency.
Although the rate has been in flux one dollar currently goes for around 29 birr on the black market which is a 1.50 birr difference from the banks.
Experts who closely follow the sector say the black market reduction over the past week is a result of relative stability in the country and more hard currency entering Ethiopia since the new PM took office.
The hard currency shortage, the stagnation of export earnings and illegal market or contraband were some of the reasons for the recent rise in the black market rate which at one point reached around 38 for one USD.
In other news the trade bureau confiscated 8,870 liters of palm oil, one ISUZU truck fully loaded with clothes and textiles, 153 packs of clothes, 50 quintals of red pepper, 23 cartoons and 95 quintals of sugar and medicine that were being traded illegally.
Regions like Oromia are also working strongly to control the contraband business, stopping goods from entering the country illegally. This has led to some conflict in the Somali and Oromia regions over the past year.