Somalia’s Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh has dismissed media reports that Somalia had lifted the ban on khat noting his remarks Monday were misinterpreted by the media.
Following wide reporting in Somalia and Kenya that the Federal Government had rescinded its decision to ban khat imports from Kenya, Beileh posted a video on his social media platforms denying the reports and set out a ‘clarification’.
The Minister said he meant that there was no restriction on import of khat from Ethiopia but that the ban on the product from Kenya stands.
While addressing journalists in Mogadishu Monday, Beileh said there was ‘no ban’ on khat imports but did not make any reference to either Kenya or Ethiopia leaving journalists to interpret that the ban on khat imports from any country including Kenya had been lifted.
Beileh was responding to claims that businessmen close to President Mohamed Farmaajo had been licensed to import khat and may have had a hand in tightening the noose on Kenya.
He said the ‘Federal Government was ready to license anyone to import khat per set rules and regulations’.
Somalia lumped up khat and international flights ban last March in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 but failed to allow khat imports from Kenya when it lifted the international flights ban in July.
Attempts by Kenyan government and interest groups to convince the Federal Government to lift the ban have since born no fruit.