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News: Addis Abeba Trade Bureau takes actions against “illicit activities”, closes thousands of businesses

Over 22,000 businesses in the capital were shut down by the city administration during the 2015 fiscal year (Photo:

Addis Abeba – In a sweeping crackdown on non-compliant businesses during the 2015 Ethiopian fiscal year, the Addis Abeba Trade Bureau has shuttered an astounding number of over 22,000 establishments suspected of engaging in “illicit activities”. The bureau has further revoked the licenses of 562 businesses that it said were found to be in violation of regulations governing their operations. These actions represent part of a broader initiative by the bureau, which has taken stern measures against a staggering total of over 95,000 businesses during the fiscal year, ranging from issuing stern warnings to complete license revocations.

On the other hand, nearly 30,000 businesses have been granted new licenses and registrations, with an additional 365,644 establishments successfully renewing their licenses at the bureau during the fiscal year. The closed businesses include bakeries, butcheries, construction materials shops, and mills. The recent closures primarily targeted establishments involved in illicit activities and deemed responsible for the surge in prices within the capital city, according to the bureau.

The administration of Mayor Adanech Abiebie stands firm in its criticism of the business community for fueling the contraband trade, which officials argue has contributed to the alarming rate of inflation engulfing the metropolis. In recent years, the surge in prices has taken a considerable toll on the population. Starting in 2019, annual inflation has steadily risen, surpassing the alarming 20% threshold. Shockingly, it reached an unprecedented high of 33.7% during the 2021/22 period, while the food inflation rate soared to a staggering 40.2%. However, overall inflation dipped to 30.8% in May 2023, with food inflation sliding down to 28.5%.

Despite the slight reduction, the impact of the inflation crisis is far-reaching, particularly affecting essential food items such as tomatoes, onions, potatoes, meat, milk, and eggs. These everyday necessities have experienced significant price surges, putting an increased burden on consumers. However, the effects of inflation have not been limited to just food; non-food items like clothing, footwear, construction materials, and fuel have also witnessed substantial price hikes.

During the inauguration of the Tesfa Birhan Bakery Factory last week, Mayor Adanech emphasized her administration’s commitment to addressing and alleviating the issue of skyrocketing prices. She stated that measures are being taken to rescue the vulnerable segments of the population from the burden of price hikes. This newly launched factory, situated in the Addis Ketema district, is one of three facilities established by the Addis Abeba City Administration in 2023. Together, these factories have a combined installed production capacity of 1.6 million breads per day.

According to the bureau, a total of 546,000 quintals of sugar and 17.6 million liters of palm oil were made available at subsidized prices during the fiscal year. The aim of this initiative is to stabilize the cost of living for residents by making available basic commodities through a network of 140 cooperative outlets situated across the city’s 11 districts. Approximately 1.2 million residents of Addis Abeba are deemed eligible to benefit from these subsidized prices. AS

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