The Somalian government has lifted the ban earlier placed on the importation of miraa (khat) from Kenya but gave conditions to be met before it is allowed into the country.
Somalia placed a ban on the importation of miraa last year when international flights were suspended to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Finance Minister, Dr. Abdirahman Dualeh Beileh who revealed this at a press conference on Monday said that traders are now permitted to import miraa in line with commercial procedures.
“Traders must import khat into the country by legal means.
“I hereby declare that nobody is barred from importing khat and [it] can be brought through any entry point if proper regulations are followed,” he said.
Miraa which is commonly called ‘khat’ in Somalia and the Middle East is a flowering plant native to Ethiopia. It contains the alkaloid cathinone, a stimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite, and euphoria.
Dr. Beileh advised miraa merchants to secure correct import licenses from the government and custom duties paid.
The ban which also is a result of an old-time border tussle between the two countries was lifted after a diplomatic discussion that resulted in a compromise.
Business management expert in Mogadishu, Mohamed Ad’eed, said that commerce should be encouraged by all necessary means in the Eastern Africa region.
“Khat, which is grown in neighboring countries like Kenya and Ethiopia and imported into Somalia, is a symbol of inter-regional trade and should be widened to other products and sectors,” he said.