Bosaso (PP News Desk) — Puntland State Aviation Minister Ilyas Osman has inaugurated Ethiopian Airlines cargo service to enhance trade relations between Somalia and Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Consular in Puntland Degnachew Yitbarek, Somali and Ethiopian businessmen had attended the ceremony held in Bosaso.

Barter system: Ethiopian businessmen will import Habo tuna to Ethiopia in a deal that reflects Somalia’s inability to benefit from comparative advantage in trade.

Ilyas commended the initiative to boost trade ties between Somalia and Ethiopia.  The Ethiopian Consular said an Ethiopian businessman would arrive in Bosaso to import fish from Puntland.

The business arrangement will enable Puntland businesses to swap fish for Khat from Ethiopia.

The deal will save Puntland dwindling hard currency used to buy the stimulant tree.

There are fears that oversupply and easy availability of Khat could make Khat chewing more widespread among children.

Minister Ilyas has been accused of usurping the Puntland Commerce Ministry’s role to inaugurate a questionable business deal with Ethiopia.

Restrictions on Khat imported from Kenya have compelled businesses in Bosaso to find efficient ways to import Khat for Puntland.

“Puntland State returned to a barter system from which people in Puntland will not benefit. Khat chewing causes mental illnesses and family break-ups. Puntland Government has not fleshed out details of the lopsided trade agreement with Ethiopia,” a member of Puntland Chamber of Commerce, who asked to be quoted anonymously, told the Puntland Post.

Fish being exported to Ethiopia in return for Khat to be consumed in Puntland.

A Bosaso-based business economist describes the trade arrangement as evidence that the incumbent Puntland administration puts personal interests above the national interest.

“Why was the Minister for Commerce absent at the ceremony? What has the Aviation Ministry got to do with a trade deal between a Federal Member State and a foreign country?” the business economist said.

This article first appeared in the © Puntland Post, 2021 and is republished with permission

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