In connection with the celebration of the 12th Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' (NNPs) Day Hebre Biher Magazine held an interview with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on what the day represents and a number of other pressing issues. Here follows the first part of the interview. Excerpts:
Question: Building a single political and economic community is one of the aspirations set on the FDRE Constitution. How is the effort going in terms of achieving it? And what is the direction taken to realize this ambition?
PM : First of all, I would like to note that our Constitution is a progressive one that brought considerable changes in addressing all prominent political, economical and social problems. The Constitution is a modern and grand document that incorporated international principles, especially the principles set by the United Nations.
Based on this, the NNPs of Ethiopia have stated their conviction to create one political and economic community as they share common values.
There are fundamental issues that are put in the articles of the Constitution which explain the rights guaranteed to all NNPs of Ethiopia, and enable them realize their commitments.
I believe that the political system is just like an establishment of a share company where all members have equal rights, responsibilities and take part to establish a strong company that benefit all. And the journey of Ethiopians to establish political and economic community has the same goals.
The Constitution has vividly stated that NNPs have a common project that treats all equally, ensure equal participation and benefits, and respect the rights of Ethiopians. Most importantly, it has created an opportunity to develop their language, history and culture.
Besides, the people have singled out poverty as the major enemy that impoverished them for years. And to eliminate poverty, they have vowed to consolidate unity and intensify their struggle to build a strong economic system.
In general, the very motive behind creating one political and economic community is the conviction among NNPs to build a strong unity based on equality and freewill.
As the NNPs have come to realize that their efforts in isolation would weaken and get them nowhere, they have chosen to create competitive country where they can play their due role.
In this context, the activities carried out over the last 25 years are a living testimony towards the noble cause of creating one political and economical community. NNPs have carried out enormous activities that attest their pledge to the document; so, the Constitution is in the right path. States and areas where administrative structures are put in place are enjoying self-administration.
NNPs are now not only proud of their language, culture and history, but are also developing them. They do believe in common values besides their peculiar ones.
These days, the Constitution has offered ample opportunities to fix the ill relations that existed among the peoples, and to increase the peoples' participation in their respective states’ development undertakings, which in turn has also helped the country to register fast economic growth over the last 15 years.
Once the economic community is fully created, it would not only enable the country to garner economic growth, but also to ensure equal and mutual benefits for all. It will also facilitate the country to break free from abject poverty, and to sustain rapid economic growth. And it is proven successful in this regard.
Thus, in real terms, the NNPs of Ethiopia have come a long way in building one political and economic community. But it does not mean the way has been smooth. Understanding the challenges that exist in building such community in a poor country that strive to transform its economic structure, they have persevered.
One of the challenges is the fight against rent-seekers, who always look for unfair advantages as the economy grows. Though it has been tough, the people are fighting hard to overcome such sentiments.
Obviously, the participation of NNPs in the democratization process is not at the desired level. They have been addressing issues that hamper their participation, and they still need to intensify efforts in fighting anti-democratic approaches.
In all the fronts, the role and contribution of NNPs has brought tremendous achievements. However, there are a lot of pending issues that need to be addressed. Though the project aimed at building one political and economic community is moving at a promising pace, there are still remaining tasks ahead of us.
In fact, the struggle to eradicate poverty takes long time. The recent United Nations report on Sustainable Development Goals set 15 years to bring the people who are living under poverty to zero. Similarly, we can defeat poverty in 15 years time. Until then, the people need to employ strenuous efforts to fight poverty as it has been singled out as number one enemy of the country.
Certainly, the NNPs of Ethiopia are now on the right track to realize a single political and economic community. It is imminent that we would achieve impressive victory. Therefore, I believe for better outcomes, we need to step up our efforts more than ever.
Question: In last year’s deep renewal process, various problems have been sorted out. How do you evaluate the government's efforts in tackling those problems?
PM: The deep renewal is not a new thing as we have already undertook similar program successfully 16 years ago.
At that time, we evaluated that we have come a long way in building strong political system that creates enabling environment in the fight against poverty, while our effort in building strong economic system and in identifying challenges as well as the sense of urgency in addressing them was weak.
As a result, the deep renewal process we underwent has enabled us to register tremendous achievements over the last 15 years. However, the commitment to fight against rent-seeking mentality had been lenient, and the existence of anti-democratic activities has undermined the democratic participation of the public – both of which are an obstruction in ensuring rapid and fair development.
Thus, the people should consolidate their participation, and ensure the transformation agenda. Despite the improvements made, the government has singled out anti-democratic practices among the public and leadership as a potential threat.
It is quite clear that in undemocratic practices, transparency and accountability is unthinkable. Rather corruption, rent seeking and impropriety would be rampant. Regardless of its magnitude, we understand that the public does not get service at the desired level due to offices due to corrupts and rent seekers in lower government structures.
Besides, problems of good governance and gaps in various economic activities have been getting worse.
Some sectors which generate huge amount of capital like tax, land and trade administrations are exposed to corruption. As there are responsible taxpayers, there are also tax evaders, who conspire with officials in their illegal ways.
Similarly, there are people who are willing to dirty their hands for personal gains in the aforementioned sectors. Though it is known that land is a potential resource for a country’s economic growth, there are gaps/bottlenecks in distribution and development, and our trading system still suffers from illegal actors (contraband traders).
The government has also identified lack of expansion of infrastructures as a hurdle to rapid development. To end this, the government is aggressively developing power, transport and other infrastructure sectors.
There are corrupt practices in contract administration, bid process and related businesses. We have also come to realize that the more we go through our deep renaissance process, the more we can overcome these challenges.
Within the last year of the deep renewal process, we have achieved considerable changes. We made a huge stride in the fight against corruption and rent seeking. We have also launched activities to reform working systems.
We have already waged war against undemocratic behavior within the political leadership. And if this fight is effective, it would give the impetus for the fight among the wider public.
With this in mind, we have organized public conferences, discussions and activities to engage the public actively in the renewal process. And in this regard, we have gained some success.
Despite the successes, we still have not yet brought fundamental changes. We took note that the deep renewal should bring basic changes. And to that end, we are planning to scale up the results achieved from the deep renewal.
Therefore, it is safe to say the deep renewal is not at the level we desire. For sure, it is a long time process and would continue in a sustainable manner. So primarily it is a must to address our own problems.
For instance, we believe that the conflicts in some parts of the country would be overcome mainly by attitudinal change and action. The recent chaos and violence in some parts of the country and problems in youth are incidents that enforce us to bring basic changes.
In fact, we have to note that the role and contribution of the youth is decisive to pull out the nation from the quagmire of poverty. We have to create political platform where the youth actively participate. We should also work together with the youth to address their economic issues. In this regard, the government has launched activities, and is working to bring fundamental changes.
Along with the stated problems, there is also attitudinal problem. The youth need to be duty-bound and ethical as well as responsible and democratic in dealing with their concerns. In any democratic country throwing stones and destroying private and public properties would hardly bring any benefit; rather it hurts the youth themselves and the country as well.
The youth need to understand and obey the constitutional system, rule of law and supremacy of law. In the absence of rule of law, there would be chaos and violence that hurt the entire public. They must present their questions through legal and peaceful manner. They must believe on discussion to fix problems. In recent time, among university students one ethnic discriminates the other and one expresses superiority on the other. After all, they are there in universities to learn and equip themselves with knowledge. They should not waste their valuable time on such trivial and backward sentiment.
The government has understood that there have been some gaps in terms of instilling the spirit of the Constitution to the students, and have taken note to rectify the problem during the deep renewal.
There are many issues to be raised. Currently, we are in a demanding situation not only to ensure fast and fair growth but also to transform the economic structure. We have to settle all the challenges impeding the structural change advancement.
We believe that addressing the hurdles is central. The deep renewal is just launched, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. However, as there are auspicious situations, it is important to note here that we have to nurture this promising climate.
Question: There are conflicts here and there. What is the reason behind and what would be the solution?
PM: The Federal Democratic Republic has embraced nine state governments. When we establish these states, their border among them is the administrative border not countries’ boundary. They are important for the states to manage, provide service, and mobilize the community for development in their respective areas.
These administrative lines are not walls. More importantly, nations and nationalities living along these borders have strong bond. They speak the same language.
Therefore, border demarcation between states is not sound argument. However, the issue of administrative lines should be resolved on the basis of identity, people’s freewill and agreements. Though we have carried out various activities in this regard, because of the ill perceptions about these administrative lines, they turned out to be a source of conflicts. This is what we observe these days.
We lost many of our citizens. Properties were damaged, and considerable numbers of people were forced to leave their villages. This is really a great loss and big mistake that never should have happened. In this regard, we believe that we should ensure rule of law in the country by holding accountable those who were behind these bloody and costly incidents.
Besides, the rent seeking political economy has disguised the reality on the ground. The sentiments for personal gains have fuelled the situation, triggering conflicts among the public. Using this confusing situation, some forces have been hurting the people.
After the incident, people in the conflict areas have expressed their solidarity in public gatherings. They said time and again that there was no problem among the people. We have come to understand that the conflicts were triggered by the state structures and those who look for their own personal gain. They have been inciting conflicts and harming the public. Thus, if the root cause of this problem needs to be addressed, we have to correct the attitude and practice of the misleading forces as well as put them in the right direction.
The administrative lines should be done with genuine and common understanding as well as cultural values. We believe that we should take measures to address this issue for good.
Returning displaced citizens to their villages, especially those displaced in the Oromia and Ethiopian Somali states border conflict is a pressing issue that we are now engaging in.
Concerning this, there are issues to be done together with the two respective states and the federal government. It is important to fight properly and correct the attitude of some forces who still adds fuel to the ailing situation.
We should foil the activities of anti-peace elements within our structures and from outsides to restore the peoples’ love and interaction as well as further consolidate their relations.
One of the issues singled out to be addressed through the deep renewal is the case of administrative borders. The jobs we need to do in those areas include restoring peace and consolidating peoples’ unity, eventually implementing joint development project for mutual benefits.
Translated by yared Gebermedin
Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy dictates that the economy and defense sectors should benefit one another and thus factories which are designed for military purposes should also be geared to produce commodities that are needed by the civilian community.
In line with this, hence the Army has been participating in various development activities including the construction of major roads, building schools and health posts in collaboration with and high participation of local community in a manner to respond to natural disasters and fight against poverty.
They are also participating in the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) mainly in the electromechanical activities for the last six years and raised financial contribution which accounts for 810 million birr to the construction of the pioneer project in the stride to achieve the middle income economy status, Defense Forces Public Relations Acting Director Colonel Kahsay Berhe told The Ethiopian Herald.
In addition to the development activities, the troops are ensuring their civility taking part in farming operations such as tilling, nurturing seedlings, watering, harvesting, conserving and protecting the environment.
The Ethiopian National Security and the economy as with many other countries are feeding each other in the process of modernizing the army force, both intellectually and in regards to materiel systems.
The goal is to reducing the expenditure of military on the economy. In developing this guidance, the Ethiopian security planners attempted to address both the challenges and opportunities of defense spending. Sources indicate that the military spending is healthy which accounts for less than two percent of the GDP.
According to the mission analysis done by Prof. Bernard F. Griffard and Professor John F. Troxell, U.S. Army War College, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) has been strengthening the economy and created massive job opportunities for citizens.
The Ethiopian Defense Industrial Base is set with the objective to take care of defense requirements, primarily in terms of ammunition and partly in terms of armaments, as the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi wrote in 2009 in relation to the establishment of the Ethiopian Defense Industrial Base.
Thus, to modernize the Defense Industry several defense factories were established in many parts of the country. The industries, hence, are contributing a lot in country's economy through import substitution, mainly supplying spare parts for the manufacturing industries, creation of jobs and advancing technology.
Some examples of the existing Ethiopian Defense Industry capability according to Professor Bernard are: the Hibret Machine Tools. Its civilian output includes hand tools, hospital beds, aluminum saddles, and household and office furniture.
The Homicho Ammunition Engineering Complex also produces various metal products that are inputs to civil industries.
Bishoftu Motorization Engineering Complex which repairs and overhaul center for heavy armament, tanks and military as well as assembling vehicles. Dejen Aviation Engineering Complex (DAVEC) and Center for overhauling and upgrading military aircraft. Nazareth Canvas and Garment Factory which is producing and supplies military uniforms, canvas, leather and strap products to the Ethiopian National Defense Force since 2007.
The Economic Impacts of Defense Strategy Development given the importance of the domestic defense industry to Ethiopia’s execution of its national security strategy.
The researchers wrote for Center for Strategic Leadership that the general academic curriculum in Ethiopia is standardized with the accredited national institution and is dynamic.
The US Army instructors present that the end product to modernize the Ethiopian Army and its contribution to the development of the nation is designed to an “Ethio-centric” course based on the unique Ethiopian situation and built partially upon a foundation of U.S. doctrine.
The Military Command and Staff College of Ethiopia has been concentrated on operational to strategic-level studies.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHERER
Since the incumbent government has come to power in 1991, it has introduced federal system of governance as the best means to resolve the quest for nationality, freedom, equality and justice which were the tough national issues chanted during the struggle for freedom. Thus, the ethnic based federalism has come to exist in response, following the social contract of the previously oppressed national nationalities and peoples to the dictatorial regime. Hence, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Constitution to respond to the several questions related to self-administration, justice and equality, has clearly address them in the Constitution.
These questions have been fully addressed within the current political system and the issue in today’s federal structure is to grow together to build one political and economic community. To ensure this endeavor, the federal government has been employing several mechanisms to bring about balanced development among the nine states and two city governments.
In accordance with the provisions of Article 62/7 of the Constitution, the House of Federation (HoF) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has been given the power and responsibility to distribute subsidy from the federal budget to the states.
The HoF facilitates the recruitment process which will enable it to bring about balanced development among states party to the federation and support the emerging states.
It was assumed that the formula used since the 2013 would have to be improved for as of the 2017/18 fiscal year for three subsequent years when it was approved by the House.
The HoF, in accordance to the stated Article of the Constitution, has been given the authority to determine the formula for the distribution of subsidies to states.
“It shall determine the division of revenues derived from joint Federal and State tax sources and the subsidies that the Federal Government may provide to the States,” as Article 62 of the Constitution dictates.
The federal government allocated annual budget support to the states has begun by the 1995. In order to ensure justice, the House has been working to make the budget distribution fair and based on the principles of the Constitution.
Since the introduction of the federal system of governance, eight federal budget distribution formulas have been developed and used. All the formulas, as well as other government policies, strategies and programs, have been developed based on the principles and objectives of the Constitution..
In view of this, a number of activities have been done to ensure the appropriate use of these funds. The quality of data used for the preparation of budget subsidy has been improved and the subsidy framework is being revised over time.
In its decision to adopt the current subsidy formula, the HoF has been developing the new formula which will be used for three years based on the realities on the ground and country's current development status.
It has been a great effort to make the new formula more transparent than ever before and make it easily understandable by all.
Furthermore, all the stakeholders have been invited to working on the results and have been able to understand and coordinate throughout the process. The use of inputs in the consultative forums has also been included in the draft.
The preparation was formal and engaging._Many stakeholders have played an active role in the process. The HoF as the leading organ of the activities and the House’s Revenue, Budget Affairs Standing Committee, Heads of the various offices in the HoF and federal institutions were involved to the process._ Representatives of the regional states have also been actively participated in the activity as key stakeholders._
Finding the most important sources of information from federal sources has been used to provide additional inputs necessary for the study to determine the views and interests of each region.
This approach also demands for the states to determine the types of taxes and the determination of tax bases and tax collection capacity._
Furthermore, over the last three years, the total tax revenues have been used to calculate income tax revenues, income taxes, land use fees, taxes and other revenues._
Estimates of the tax rates for selected tax sources have been taken from the Central Statistics Agency (CSA) to determine the applicable tax rates for each type of tax. And it is not by taking the average indigenous groups, but by taking the weight based on the paying capacity of taxpayers in each state._
Likewise, the gross income of all states has been calculated from the sources of income derived in each source of revenue collected by each state. Therefore, the House has allocated subsidies to the states based on the new formula.
Accordingly, while the share percentages of Tigrai and Afar States from the federal budget are 6.03 and 3.02 respectively, Amhara and Oromia States shares are 21.60, and 34.46 respectively. In the same way, the formula has allotted for the Ethiopian Somali State 9.89, Benishangul-Gumuz 1.83, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples 20.11, Gmabella 1.33, Harari 0.76 and Dire Dawa City Administration 0.88 percent.
The new federal subsidy formula has been prepared in the light of improving the existing one being used over the past years, with a view to realizing the development endeavors of the country. The plan was based on factual information and the format was also participatory and concise at every level.
The formula will be used for subsequent three years, The Ethiopian Herald learnt.
Translated from Hibre Biher Magazine, special edition for the 12th Nations, Nationalities and People's (NNP's) Day which is going to be celebrated in Samara, Afar State this Friday.
BY HAFTU GEBREZGABIHER
Statistical abstracts indicate that the youth constitute more than 60 percent of the Ethiopian population. Anything that affects the youth is likely to affect the entire population of this country. There are a number of factors that the Ethiopian youth share with the youth in the rest of Africa and probably at the global level.
Among other things, unemployment, addiction to various narcotics and alcoholic drinks, illegal migration, vulnerability to HIV and AIDS, consumer xenophobia and vulnerability to cultural neo-colonialism together with the multi-dimensional manifestations of poverty induced proximity to crimes explain the state of affairs among youth in Africa and more particularly in Ethiopia.
Analysis on youth in Ethiopia should out of expediency take into account the gender dimension of the youth. Young women comprise at least half of the youth population in Ethiopia. Although they share almost all the attributes mentioned with their male counterparts, they are subjected to additional counterproductive and harmful practices that have been cherished for ages. Although the law provides for severe punishment in case of the violation of the rights of young women, gender based harassment and violence has continued unabated in Ethiopia. The situation is far more severe among girls in rural Ethiopia who live in different cultural contexts.
The government has already issued a policy on the youth. There are also various legal instruments in favor of the rights of the youth in every aspect of social life. Youth affairs departments have already been established in the nomenclatures of regional, zonal and even at the district levels.
Pro youth development policies and affirmative action programs are already in place for young ladies and young persons alike. The fact that the government has allocated more than 10 billion Birr towards the economic empowerment of the youth shows the scale and level of government commitment to youth development. Despite these efforts, at the federal and regional levels programs and strategies designed to ensure economic benefit for the youth are not being implemented at the desired pace. There are considerable obstacles that hinder the smooth running of these programs including red tape, lack of confidence to take appropriate and legal decisions.
Most of the periodic reports delivered by sector offices are in most cases full of generalities and lame excuses that could have been corrected at all levels. There is also a vivid lack of coordination between project implementing agencies and financial institutions that are expected to provide seed money for the start up of various income generating activities particularly tailored for the youth.
It is clear that the empowerment of the youth is not restricted to providing economic support for unemployed youth. The youth that are employed by themselves, the government and civil society organizations have their own problems related to managing the various aspects of their life. Lack of discipline among some youth, absence of experience and patriotic spirit at the place of work, lack of managerial skills on their personal life still remain some of the challenges that the better off youth face.
For instance, in terms of health, the top ten killer diseases in Ethiopia target the youth, the major working force in Ethiopia. Despite the globally recognized health intervention programs that extend right up to the village level, most patients suffering from various diseases fall in the youth age bracket.
As it is vividly observed in the streets of cities and towns both in the urban and rural settings of the country our youth are already copying the life style and costumes that are from foreign lands. This may seem to be natural and acceptable as it just comes to pass through time but the neo-colonial mentality it leaves behind could have lifelong negative effects that are difficult to rectify in the short run.
Identifying the problems related to youth empowerment may seem to be easy at face value but resolving the problems that the youth in Ethiopia face remains to be a top priority issue both for the government and the public at large. The task of empowering the youth cannot be accomplished either in a single process or only through a series of disconnected youth development programs.
There are two aspects to this issue. In the first place all youth development related programs need to be effectively coordinated sharing strict duties and responsibilities to all concerned sectors. A program targeting the youth can be fruitful only when the youth are involved at all the level of program development cycles. The other aspect is creation of collective spirit of ownership among the youth through continuous training and mentoring.
Providing youth tailored quality education particularly at mid level vocational training centers and universities is critical not only for the youth but for the entire development pace of this country. There has been a lot of talk about promoting quality education in this country but the problem in the sector still persists. Why this is so and why are the sectors concerned unable to cross their rubicon?
Certainly, the Ethiopian government has the lions share in resolving the above mentioned youth related development issues but there are also stakeholders that are expected to play a major role in empowering the youth. Religious organizations, civil society organizations, professional associations and public and private institutes of higher learning have a much greater role to play in empowering the youth. On the other hand, the youth branches of the various political parties in Ethiopia and other youth organizations would need to play more practical and life changing measure instead of only focusing on political polemics. Families of the youth and the private sector can also play a key role in providing a better future for the Ethiopian youth. Various specific dialogues that involve the youth need to be conducted to ensure peaceful academic environment in the public and private universities in this country.
The Ethiopian youth need to shoulder their own responsibilities in shaping their own future. Youth professionals including engineers, medical doctors, army and police officers, teachers, athletes, entrepreneurs, lawyers need to contribute their specific parts in enabling the pull out the youth from world outlook that could possibly inhibit their development. It is very important top work on the economic empowerment of the youth but along these massive programs there are other complementary activities that need to be carried out to prepare the youth for more lifelong programs. There are thousands of traumatized, addicted and those who are in a state of limbo regarding what the future has in store for them. Special youth rehabilitation centers need to cater to the multi-faceted needs of the youth. Besides, youth who suffer from depression need to be provided with a special medical care to ensure their rehabilitation.
When programs on youth development are designed, a special consideration should be accorded to disable youth with high standards talents that they can use for the development of their country. Very little is being done in this area but the potentials for empowering disabled youth is immense.
A combination of formal and informal approach to youth development that blends cultural values of Ethiopia and its democratic content is of vital importance for ensuring youth empowerment in Ethiopia as the nation strives to become a mid level developed country by 2025.
BY SOLOMON DIBABA
Federalism was introduced in Ethiopia in 1991 when the idea of self-determination up to secession was launched thereby political, administrative and economic power is devolved to ethnically defined regional states.
Federalism, as scholars agreed, is an alternative political system which entertains diversity. It is also defined as a chosen system to change nations in all aspects. Hence, countries are showing interest in the use of federalism as a way of managing ethnically diverse countries, balancing autonomy and independence, unity and diversity.
Thus, in ethnically divided countries, ethnic-based federalism is a crucial system to managing those differences and reducing ethnicity related tensions and conflicts.
Ethiopia is a home for over 80 Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (NNPs) with varied culture, language, religion, history and way of living. Centering these diversities, hence, ethnic federalism in the context of Ethiopia is the best fit system in balancing the competing and conflicting demands for autonomy and unity through entertaining and appreciating diversities.
In earlier regimes, Ethiopia was often connected with social injustices, economic exploitation and political oppression, human rights violation and denial of democratic rights prevailed for long in the past. Diverse ethnic identities had been sufficient causes for conflict which result in discrimination, hatred, conflict and disrespect among nations and nationalities. As result, there were dissatisfaction and revolts in different parts of the past Ethiopia.
However, after the implementation of federalism these situations have been reversed. The nation has promoted diversities by recognizing and creating respectful condition among one another. These days, NNPs have got a chance to administer themselves both at regional and federal level with the accommodating opportunity given to all diversities to get proper representation.
Ethiopia has now gone very far in correcting past faults of dictatorial regimes and due to that the nation has started registering remarkable social, political and economic achievements after the implementation of the federal system. The system has also benefited women, youths and the public at large in the economic, social, political and cultural arenas.
The federative arrangement in Ethiopia is not only aimed at enabling ethnic communities to maintain and promote their distinctive collective identities and their particular forms of life. It is also directed at building one political and economic community for the promotion of their common interests collectively, in a mutually supportive manner.
Federalism in principle develops high public participation, justice and will lead to administrative successes. However, this demands democratic thinking, securing legality, human right protection, nationalism and balanced thinking.
Unarguably, in any form of governance system there is always a challenge. So is in federalism. And Ethiopia’s federalism could not be free from challenges. In Ethiopia, though the socioeconomic development is going well, issues related to unfair wealth distribution, unemployment, corruption and rent-seeking behavior are still challenging the nation and incertitude the federal system.
As a result, anti-peace bodies are attempting to take the pulse of the community and seize the moment as an opportunity to create conditions that lead to conflict. The conflicts arose in some parts of the country are expected to be the result of such things.
Unarguably, the system has proved itself to be appropriate to Ethiopia. Successively, the country is registering impressive economic growth after the implementation of the federal system. Indeed, a lot remains and needs to be done in implanting the system at its highest level.
And this will be made practical by all stakes and people's of the nation. Nations, Nationalities of Ethiopia as they always renew their promise to take the nation higher to this end.
The government also should listen to the pulse of the public to identify what they feel and need, and serve them better . Equally, addressing challenges and concerns at well-timed before they come out of hand is also central.
In doing so, it is enabled to avert the activities of anti-peace groups, secure peace and security within the country and enjoy the fruit of federalism.
The House of People’s Representatives /HPR/ endorsed three draft proclamations here yesterday.
In its fifth year tenure, third year term, seventh regular session, the House endorsed three draft proclamations and referred the remaining two for the pertinent Standing Committees.
Financial loan bill made between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the International Development Association is one among the proclamation endorsed by the House. The loan is said to execute basic service expansion program.
It also endorsed the Federal Civil Servants Proclamation resolutions proposed by the Manpower Development and Good Governance Affairs and Legal, Justice Affairs Standing Committees.
HPR also endorsed the Proclamation on Forestry Conservation, Development and Utilization proposed by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Affairs Standing Committee
The House referred two draft proclamations, the establishment of the Ethiopian Geospatial Information Agency and the loan agreement made between the Ethiopian government and the French Development Agency to modernize the Addis Ababa Abattoirs Enterprise, to the concerned Standing Committee for further scrutiny.
BY KASSAHUN CHANIE
Ethiopia Tourism Agency proclaimed that it has been striving to develop tourist destination areas in a bid to increase tourist inflow. Agency Tourist Destination Areas Development Director Chirenet Tilahun told The Ethiopian Herald recently that the Agency has been providing design development support to investors who show tendency to engage in destination areas development.
Indicating that all the Ethiopian parks do not have information centers that provide full-fledged information for tourists, Chirenet said the Agency, in collaboration with stakeholders, is constructing campsites, visitor centers in Nech Sar and Semine Mountains National Parks
The Agency is intervening in in tourist destination sites where there are basic facility gaps and which could be developed by private investors. Besides, the Agency is promoting destination areas that need to be developed through the involvement of investors though their participation is very limited.
Foreign investors are now engaged in destination area development. The task carrying out in Al-nejashi Mosque is a case in point. Ethiopian Diasporas have also been affiancing in the construction of tourist shelters in camps.
So far, the Agency has not identified new destination areas. However, as they are not developed well, it focuses on the existing tourist destinations. Particularly, the Agency would give major area of focus to developing western and southern natural heritages.
When tourists travel to rural parts of the country where many tourist destinations are available, they could not find sheltering and restaurant service facilities.
The very reason is that investors have little interest to spend capital in remote areas, but in big towns. The Agency, through providing various incentives, has been convincing investors to invest in various tourist destination sites and gain more benefits from the sector, he said.
According to him, most of the investors are devoted to invest in the capital Ababa rather than in tourist destination sites.
So, the Agency is dedicated to promote investment reward for investors investing in destination areas.
Ensuring equal distribution of service delivery institutions is critical to increase the number of tourist influx. If there are no the desired services, the tourists could not spend much of their wealth, time in these areas. By and large; the nation could not gain the desired benefit from the sector. So, the Agency has developed strategy to address the aforesaid challenges, Chirenet remarked.
The availability of tourist facilities has its own direct impact on the number of tourists influx. Hence, the Agency needs to address the challenge through creating consensus with private investors.
The incentives given to investors engaged in developing tourist destinations include tax holiday and free land access to build hotel. However, as these are not mean enough, the Agency is working to provide complete incentive packages via discussing with investor, as per the mandate given to it,as the Director stated.
BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW
Ethiopian Airlines Group says the flag carrier’s growing domestic network has been proven successful in easing movement of people and fostering business activities in the country.
Spread all over the country, Ethiopian domestic network has been playing a significant role in bringing states closer and enhancing flow of investment and tourism, Group Chief Commercial Officer Busera Awel tells The Ethiopian Herald.
The Officer notes that the Airlines gives due attention to domestic service and has been striving to make a three folds’ increment in the number of domestic passengers within the next seven years.
In Vision 2025, Ethiopian has set a target to expand its domestic destinations from 20 to 26 and the number of passengers from 1.4 million to over five million, he adds.
“The Airliner gives the utmost priority to open new routes closer to industrial parks, big factories and commercial farms to boost export and investment thereby supporting country’s vision of becoming a middle-income economy.’’
Busera further states that through expanding the availability of air transport, the flag carrier has built investors’ confidence to engage in Ethiopia’s wider investment opportunities and speeding up country’s urbanization plans.
Ethiopian, as African leading cargo service provider, is also providing adequate air cargo services that is crucial for the fast-growing domestic and foreign trade.
Concerning tourism, the Officer says the Airlines offers a daily ‘Historic Route Service’ to attract tourists to Ethiopia’s famous historic and natural tourist attraction sites.
“In our Northern routes of Bahr Dar, Gondar, Lalibela and Axum, Ethiopian gives ample opportunities to visitors to see world famous obelisks and rock hewn churches as well as the Simien Mountain National Park which is inscribed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.’’
The Airliner’s Eastern routes of Dire Dawa and Harar avail visitors to witnesses country’s blend of natural beauty and history. The Southern destination of Hawassa also provides unlimited opportunities for mountain walks, horse trekking and scenic drive, he adds.
Currently the Airliner has 20 domestic destinations namely Arba Minch, Assosa, Axum, Bahar Dar, Bale Robe, Dire Dawa, Gambella, Gonder, Gode, Hawassa, Humera, Jijiga, Jimma, Kabri Dar, Kombolcha, Lalibela, Mekele, Semera, Shire and Shilavo, it was learnt.
BY BILAL DERSO
The group of eleven national negotiating political parties reaffirmed commitment to actively continue ongoing dialogue with ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front.
According to them, the negotiation has so far led to positive changes in few aspects of the tabled agendas with others issues to be determined yet requiring further discussions.
The parties also expressed their sorrow and disappointment over the death of people and properties damage due to conflicts that erupted in some parts of the country.
Party representatives stated in a press conference yesterday that thorough dialogues and discussions have been held with regard to party registration proclamation No. 573/2000, Electoral Law Proclamation No. 532/2007.
Throughout the dialogue, the parties separately and collectively have tried to echo what is best for the politics and the entire people. The representatives also noted that progresses have been made partly with regard to the tabled issues such as party registrations and electoral laws with some other issues remaining pending.
The negotiation has gone through different challenges and ups and downs. The group expressed its conviction that the dialogue would contribute to the widening of political and democratic values.
The parties also vowed to remain robust and vibrant in the remaining time of the dialogue describing the rest of the agendas as fundamental and critical to the parties and the political process. The parties called for a peaceful continuation of the ongoing dialogue saying some elements have attempted to discredit the contributions that the negotiating parties have made.
During the briefing, the parties indicated that they have agreed with the ruling party to setup a 'mixed parallel' electoral system that combines/ allocates 20 percent to Proportional Representation (PR) and 80 percent Majority Vote, which adds 110 new parliamentary seats and increasing the total seats of the parliament to 660.
Indicating that the dialogue has been surrounded by different inconveniences and disagreements, the parties are hopeful that the outcome of the dialogue would at least improve the political process of the nation.
They stated their believe that the dialogue should continue forward to serve as a platform and tool to create helpful ideas and agreements that would further consolidate the country's democracy.
Furthermore, the group also pointed out on the need of working to further strengthen the participation of the public in the democratic process, which they say is important to untangle the country's politics from 'zero sum game' and one party domination.
BY DESTA GEBREHIWOT & ROBEL YOHANNES
The Ethiopian Investment Commission says the country has witnessed significant investments during the last two budget years and it is in a good position to attain the seven billion USD plan set to the end of the Second Growth and Transformation Plan period (2019/20 fiscal year).
The joint efforts of government and other pertinent stakeholders have borne fruits in enabling the country to obtain over 7.45 billion USD from FDI in the past two fiscal years, Commission Policy Study and Strategy Director Negussie Gurmu tells The Ethiopian Herald.
Capitalizing on Ethiopia’s untapped investment opportunities and country’s conducive business climate, it is enabled to attract considerable investments that on a par with some investment hotspots of the world, the Director notes.
He says: “Ethiopia has been increasingly become a growing recipient of foreign capital flows and the most attractive destination of investors in the African continent. The country has secured 4.17 billion USD in the 2016/17 fiscal year and become the largest recipient of FDI in the East African region.’’
Negussie said that the government, setting FDI policy, has been striving to attract labor intensive and export-oriented investment projects in the agro-processing, manufacturing, energy and other priority sectors.
The ongoing massive industrial parks development and expansion activities have been supplementing Commission’s efforts to attract quality investments and country’s vision of becoming East Africa’s FDI hub, he adds.
Besides the role they have been played in the FDI, industrial parks are also key instruments in transforming the country’s agrarian economy to industry led one.
Centering on economic diplomacy, Ethiopia’s embassies and consulate generals have a significant share in supporting the Commission’s endeavors to lure investments from all corners of the world.
He says: “Our missions abroad have been partnering with relevant bodies of the respective countries in identifying anchor investors and encouraging them to have a meaningful participation in Ethiopia’s wider investment opportunities.’’
According to the Director, Ethiopia’s Investment Policy and other legal frameworks and incentives have also greater contributions for the success the country has gained in FDI.
Negussie states that the Investment Policy and other regulations have been periodically revised to make them adaptable to global shifts, create a favorable business climate and make the country an ideal place for FDI.
The government pays due attention to attract foreign investments and it has been providing export incentives, customs duty exemptions, income tax holidays and land for investors engaged in the priority areas, he notes.
BY BILAL DERSO