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Following reports in Somalia and Kenya that the Federal Government had rescinded its decision to ban khat imports from Kenya, Beileh posted a video on his social media platforms denying the reports and set out a ‘clarification.’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 no restriction on importing khat from Ethiopia but that the ban on the product from Kenya stands.
Beileh told reporters in Mogadishu that there was ‘no ban’ on khat imports but did not reference either Kenya or Ethiopia, leaving journalists to interpret that the ban on khat imports had been lifted entirely.
Beileh responded to claims that businesspeople 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 banned the importation of khat and international flights ban last March in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. However, it failed to allow khat imports from Kenya when it lifted the global flight ban in July.
The Kenyan government and interest groups’ attempts to convince the Federal Government to lift the ban have borne no fruit.