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Leather Industry earns 78 million dollars for Ethiopia

Fails to reach the original target

Ethiopia has earned about 78 million dollars from leather and leather products exported over the last ten months of the current fiscal year. And as this fiscal year comes to an end, the total earnings are expected to be 100 million birr. About the beginning of the current fiscal year, the government had planned to earn 200 million dollars from the export of leather and leather products. Half way through the fiscal year, however, the government lowered its projection to 120 million dollars as the entrance into the export market of new leather producers was delayed. This has brought about the failure of the Ethiopian leather industry to meet its second target for 2010/11.

Short supplies of skin and raw hide and rising prices are blamed for the failure to meet targets according to Brhanu Sergebo, corporate communication head of Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI). The government is offering to solve the shortage problem by allowing a duty free import of raw hide and skin. Experts in the leather industry, however, think that under performance is due to falling demand in the international market while local tanneries say that the price of raw hide and skin are skyrocketing because of demand by large foreign owned tanneries which started production over the last few months. Moreover, they say that the either the country has to switch from crust products to finished leather products or its export profits may go on failing to meet targets.

The government has targeted to earn half a billion dollars from leather and leather products exports by 2015 and it is planning to impose a heavy tax on crust export in the 2011/2012 fiscal year to stimulate an increase in the more profitable export of finished leather and leather products. In addition, the government has banned new investors from joining the industry with the intention of controlling the supply shortage. At present there are 25 tanneries in operation in the country.

Source: Capital