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The federal government has reversed an earlier decision to bar the import of combustion engine vehicles as Customs officials are instructed to allow in an unspecified number of combustion engine cars that have been stranded at ports for almost a year.

A letter to the Customs Commission from Aynalem Nigussie, minister of Revenues, countermands a circular from the Finance Ministry issued in October 2023, suspending the import of all combustion engine vehicles for private use.

The initial ban came following statements from the Prime Minister in favor of electric car imports.

The latest u-turn from the government comes following a cabinet meeting last week, where Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and his ministers sat down for a half-year report evaluation. The cabinet decided to allow the import of combustion engine cars stranded in ports in Djibouti since last year.

“The Council of Ministers has decided that vehicles stranded at Djibouti port are to be shipped to Dire Dawa dry port,” reads the letter signed by Aynalem.

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The move coincides with a circular amendment from the Ministry of Finance, which now permits the import of dozens of items previously barred from forex allocations via the Franco Valuta scheme – including vehicles.

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