Traders Wary, Uncertain as New State Wholesaler Opens Shop
About 200 consumable items will be sold in the shops of the one billion-Birr enterprise.
By Mikias Merhatsidk
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Painted by a dominant blue with yellow strips meant to represent trust and hope, respectively, a warehouse turned wholesale supermarket of Alle, located around Megnenagna, in Bole District, was opened for business by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last Monday, May 26, 2014. The Premierâ€™s presence reflects the weight the endeavor is given by the government. Under the pouring rain before him, Hailemariam told the crowd gathered for the opening ceremony how consumers were left without options and were forced to accept inflated prices due to unfair business ties between few suppliers in the market. â€œBut now we hope the private sector will draw lessons from Alleâ€™s unique business model,â€ he said. Alle Bejimla, also called Alle, which literally translates in English as â€œwholesale is available,â€ has begun operations through a business-to-business model that focuses on providing goods to businesses like kiosks, cafes and hotels. The one billion-Birr project was initiated by the government over concerns of the lack of competition in the wholesale market of the country that caused a runaway inflation. In an attempt to tame the escalating prices on consumer goods, the administration of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had even taken control of private wholesalersâ€™ import distributions and warned them it could open the sector to the test of foreign competition. For the government that has repeatedly expressed its disappointment over the domination of the wholesale market in Ethiopia by few powerful suppliers, Alleâ€™s introduction is expected to spur more competition into the market and ultimately bring prices down. Read more at: Addis Fortune