Somalia’s Federal Government has officially lifted the ban on the importation of khat (miraa) from Kenya.
However, it has imposed certain conditions for the commodity to be admitted on its territory.
Somalia’s Finance Minister, Dr. Abdirahman Dualeh Beileh, told a press conference on Monday evening that traders will now be allowed to import miraa, but businesses must follow proper procedure.
“Traders must import khat into the country by legal means,” Dr. Beileh.
“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 added.
Miraa (khat) is a brain stimulant, widely chewed in Somalia as a pastime.
Dr. Beileh urged traders to obtain the correct import licenses from the government and pay the appropriate duties.
Somalia had stopped the importation of khat when international flights were suspended last year due to fear of the spread of Covid-19. But, when international air travels resumed, khat importation from Kenya was still restricted and khat from Ethiopia, a slightly different variety, was allowed in the country.
The continued restrictions were attributed to a spat between Kenya and Somalia dating as far back as 2016 when then Meru Governor Peter Munya, now Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, caused a stir by visiting the breakaway Somaliland and offering to have them recognized if they allowed miraa from Kenya into its markets.
Somalia responded by accusing Mr. Munya of “attempting to break up our country.” The ban was, however, lifted following discussions at the diplomatic level. However, the continual border spat between the two countries has seen increased tension between Somalia and Kenya.