Somalia on Monday officially lifted a ban it had imposed on the importation of khat (miraa) from Kenya.
Finance Minister Abdirahman Dualeh Beileh announced the news which came as sweet music to the ears of miraa farmers who had seen their biggest market cut off.
However, Dualeh Beileh said that miraa from Kenya will be allowed to enter the country, but with certain conditions which must be strictly adhered to.
Traders will have to apply for import licenses from the government.
“Traders must import khat into the country by legal means. I hereby declare that nobody is barred from importing khat and can be brought through any entry point if proper regulations are followed,” said Dualeh Beileh.
In March 2020, the government of Somalia banned international flights, which included miraa planes from Kenya, as part of its efforts to contain the novel coronavirus.
Since Miraa is picked by hand and people enjoy it in a group, the government argued that it could help spread COVID-19.
The ban had seen miraa traders in Kenya record a cumulative loss of KSh5 billion a day.
Miraa is a leaf that has a stimulant called alkaloid cathinone which causes excitement among users.