Items filtered by date: Thursday, 14 September 2017
Thursday, 14 September 2017 20:06

Hawasa Riding


Hawasa is a remarkable piece of nature's work. The town's spectacular views and shores of its lakes together with the peculiar landscapes and moderate weather, do not only inspire authors but the layman to pen down about the town. The capital city of the South Nation Nationalities and People's State is not only just about the nature, it is also about its popularity of motor bikes and bicycles.

If you feel like riding and enjoying a motor bike or bicycle, Hawassa would provide you what you are looking in the most exciting and unforgettable ways. People in Hawasa from every walks of life do ride and bike. Be it youngsters or elders, everyone in the town enjoys to bike. And if you are wondering too, Hawasa for sure is a town to try one and see how riding motor bikes and bicycles can be a fun.

The plain land cannot be more comfortable for these tiny machines. Uniquely enough, riding motor bikes is popular in the town. Riding bicycle motor is an unforgettable experience for visitors. If you are youngsters you may pedal away your excess energy. And if you are graying you will have a chance to enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes of the town by hiring bikes.

To your surprise, Hawasa also seems to ensure gender equality when it comes to riding bikes. Riding those little machines is an expression of beauty and elegance for Hawasa ladies. It is frequented by lots of women on daily basis not to forget the female journalist that I encountered doing her job during my stay in the beautiful town. She told me, for Hawasa women, riding bikes is not solely about saving time or easing transportation hassle, it is also looking good, getting fit and being independent. Rumor has it, during previous times, women in the town used to ride bicycle to maintain good physical shape and posture.

The towns routes are perfect for the little engines. Ranging from the gravel alleyways to the asphalt streets, the town is a place for those looking to either test your pedaling capacity or riding skills. You may ride through the popular fish market along the lake’s shore. You may also bike around the nearby waterside Amora Gedel National Park which is mainly inhabited by monkeys. The town which is part of the Great Rift Valley has also many more man made heritages. Among others, you enjoy the ride by having a glimpse of the newly built Hawasa Industrial park and Hawasa Stadium.

Riding bikes is the best way to feel the weather and breath fresh. The wind hitting your face and weaving your hair, it is just a remarkable and unforgettable experience. Even sometimes, as funny it seems, the boys getting around call us 'Indian Actress', she wondered. Women can bike every kinds of motorcycles and bicycle be it big tiny latest or oldest ones. These days, there are more motorcycles than bicycles on the road. As more roads continues to be built, motor bikes have outnumbered bicycles, the journalist told me.

However, on the contrary to the joyful moments of ride, sometimes biking does not go the way it is supposed to. Accidents could happen during clumsy rides. Some people ride more than the speed limit and in reckless way. As much as enjoying the ride, nowadays accidents are also becoming a daily routine as more unlicensed riders and unregistered bikes are put on the roads, a friend of mine told me. Unlicensed drivers and unregistered bikes are not allowed in the town. If this is the case, you are more likely to get a decent ride than accidental one. Riding the little bicycles is like being a teenager again, take your time and visit Hawassa. While enjoying your ride, do not forget to wear the safety helmets needed for the biking for your own cause.

Otherwise, Hawasa is about more than pleasing yourself. The town has a potential to be hub to cycling and other sporting competitions. Biking competitions are being held on the town. It is the best sporting field for cycling and motor sports with huge fans and terrific weather. One thing you should not miss after riding is that not to forget to bask in the remarkable Fikir or Hawasa lakes.





Published in Society

Procrastination is my sin,

It brings me nothing but sorrow.

I know that I should stop it,

In fact, I will – tomorrow.

(Poem by unidentified writer)

The unidentified procrastinator apparently knows that he/she is actually suffering from failure to meet deadlines. It is also exciting enough to know that the person believes the situation has to stop. Yet, ironically, he/she procrastinate to halt his/her procrastination. As you might find this funny, you might also find yourself caught in it. But don't worry, you are not alone in this.

On similar instance, hilarious as it may seem, it has been a while since I decided to write an article on this matter, but it did take me sometime to begin the actual writing. After a series of postponement for weeks, it finally happened. This being true to many of us, it should be considered a serious problem if we are totally loosing control of the situation.

Procrastination, as a tendency to put things forward until tomorrow, or some unspecified time in the future, is usually done voluntarily and appears to be normal; yet it is rarely judged to be a positive thing. Sometimes people procrastinate by postponing an intended course of action even if they know the situation would be worse due to the delay.

Some have believed that it is a sign of time management problem, where as, it is rather more of an emotion management problem, that resulted in inefficiency in time utilization.

Surveys suggest that 80 percent of the global population procrastinate while the rest 20 percent are to be labeled as procrastinators. That means, if you are a real procrastinator, you are among the 20 percent who need a serious therapy because it has turned out to be a chronic problem that might affect your life.

The reasons people procrastinate are not scientifically well understood as experts in psychology and mental health have not reached an agreed conclusion. Some researchers have viewed procrastination largely as a failure of self-regulation like other bad behaviors that have to do with a lack of self-control, such as overeating, a gambling problem or extravagance. Others say it is not a matter of being lazy or failing to manege time, as many smart overachievers who procrastinate often can attest. These ones believe that it may actually be linked to “how our brain works and to deeper perceptions of time and the self”.

Yet from a general observation, people who procrastinate tend to reason out their inclination of putting things off to future time on different grounds. Some people can not be aroused to accomplish a certain task until the deadline approaches. For these kind of people, specially people we know back in college are mostly known for their common behavior in their inability to commence their studies ahead of examinations. We all have gone through that, but many students gain motivation for studies when only a couple of days are left before the exam, even some students continue to procrastinate knowing that they have to sit for exam the next day.

However, not all procrastinators are in it to find motivation, some procrastinate to avoid the unpleasant feeling they encounter on doing certain tasks they think they are uncomfortable to do so. These ones are not waiting the right time to find the necessary motivation, they are simply getting rid off the tasks they are supposed to do as they don't feel like doing them.

In the meantime, there are people who tend to put things off to the future to make sure they are making the right decision. These people do not like to regret as a result of faults in their own decisions, so they prefer to wait until the last ticks of seconds before passing decisions or accomplishing certain tasks.

Once the reality of a deadline comes in again, procrastinators feel more extreme shame and guilt knowing that failure is imminent. Researchers believed that, for an extreme procrastinator, those negative feelings can be just another reason to put the task off, with the behavior turning into a vicious, self-defeating cycle.

Hence, it is clear that the situation, however common and familiar to our daily routine, could also be damaging and devastating. According to a researcher at Princeton University chronic procrastinators tend to have low self-esteem and focus on the past. It may also lead to lower grades and performances causing higher levels of stress and illness.

Nevertheless, there are also proponents who argue the other way round. For these , procrastinators are great visionaries. They believe they can achieve extraordinary things. Some use it as a means to manage time, because they perform best under pressure.

A handful of recommendations have been forwarded to help us overcome procrastination. The most interesting advise I found quite relevant and helpful is the one that is directed to the mindset of people. A researcher recommends that one needs to recognize that he/she don’t necessarily have to be in the mood to do a certain task, “just ignore how you feel and get started”, the researcher proclaims. It is a suggestion that instead of focusing on feelings, we have to think about what the next action is, and we should start doing it now.

I found a dialogue on a popular television show 'The Simpsons' as a pretty good illustration of the different ways we think about our present and future selves. In this episode, the wife talks to her husband for not spending enough time with their kids. “Some day, these kids will be out of the house, and you’ll regret not spending more time with them,” she says.

And her husband, Homer, a humorous and sarcastic character in the show says “That’s a problem for future Homer. Man, I don’t envy that guy”. The way Homer depicts how far we go to avoid doing things is quite epic.








Published in Society
Thursday, 14 September 2017 20:00

Due attention to OSH

The rapid economic growth of Ethiopia during the past ten years has been paving the way towards industrialization. Several investors and companies from different parts of the world are currently engaged in different industrial sectors. Nation’s peace and stability, natural resource potential as well as friendly investment policy are attracting many investors to be part of the progress.

Thus, the industrialization process in current realities should not just be about building factories and utilizing the labor force in a way that benefits those with financial or political power. It should be a process that involves several sectors and every step needs to take various socioeconomic aspects into consideration including human safety, natural resource management and environmental protection.

Therefore, Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and harmonious industrial relations is one of the major principles which determine the fate of the nation’s industrialization. That is because a successful industrialization requires the existence of healthy industrial relationship between employers and employees. In this case, the proper implementation of a Nation’s labor law or proclamation plays a crucial role in creating this healthy relationship.

The Ethiopian Labor Proclamation states that every employee has the right to enjoy suitable measures of protection and safety and hygiene at work as the employer is required to take all the necessary measures to safeguard the health and safety of workers. Employers must take appropriate measures to ensure that workers are properly instructed and notified about the risks and imminent danger related to their respective occupations and precautions necessary to avoid accidents and injury to health.

There is no doubt this obligations need proper follow-ups from the responsible organs. Currently the duty is on the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and Associations of OSH, as well as employees and employers.

Yifokir Tefera, PHD fellow in OSH at Addis Ababa University and president of the Ethiopian Occupational Safety and Health Professionals Association says the labor force in Ethiopia is growing rapidly in relation with the nation’s economic development and the industrial progress.

He tells the Ethiopian Herald that even though it has been many years since Ethiopia has become member of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and signed different conventions, much has not been done in terms of OSH.

According to him, the major problem has been low level of awareness about OSH between employees and employers as well as some executive bodies of the government. “Some employers thought that the idea of OSH only increases cost of production. Some executive bodies or labor inspectors also thought that the OSH would discourage industrialization and investors. ”

However, there are tangible improvements being witnessed currently as the government has given due attention for the issue and provided policies and legal frame works based on the standards of ILO. Joint efforts are also being undertaken by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) and ILO in terms awareness creation about OSH and industrial relations, says Yifokir.

“Though Association is still at its infancy, we are working with MOLSA and ILO. We give long and short term trainings for employers and employees at their work places. Building the capacity of labor inspectors is significant in order to maintain quality and professional OSH service. As a result, we have trained and graduated more than forty labor inspectors of the government in three rounds of Masters Program in collaboration with Addis Ababa University.”

Yifokir also says OSH management system trainings were given for employers of selected and voluntary companies. He adds the Association use international occasions on OSH and May Day celebrations to create awareness and distribute teaching materials for employees’ associations in different States throughout the country over the past few years. “This year, we have celebrated the days in East Industrial Zone with ILO, discharging similar responsibilities.”

Somehow, unhealthy industrial relations emerge for most employees and employers argue about the use and quality of safety materials or equipments. Employees may say they are not provided with quality safety equipments while employers argue that the employees do not use the materials appropriately. There may be faults on both sides, according to Yifokir.

Sometimes, both could make deals to compromise the use of safety equipments for the sake of illegal benefits including paper money. “One cannot prevent work related accidents by substituting safety equipments with money. It rather increases the accidents and declines productivity. Such accidents could also create unexpected burden on the health sector,” he says.

He noted that whenever there is gap in OSH and industrial relations, the consequence could affect the employee and employer. One work related accident would cause temporary or permanent physical damage or loss of life to the employee and affect the lives of his/her family in different ways. On the other hand, the employer or company (industry) loses huge amount of finance due to compensation payments.

Yifokir adds that most employers could focus mainly in protecting or increasing their profit margin. In order to realize it, they incline to increase their productivity by involving their labor force with extra or part time jobs, which leads to accidents and crisis.

“In this case, losing a skilled labor force is a problem that cannot be easily compensated. However, if the accident results in a damage that may lead to the shutting down of the industry, the problem could be worse. And that is unemployment which affects many of those whose lives depend on the employees’ support. It has also its own effect on the national economy,” says Yifokir.

From the experiences of some of the world’s biggest companies or industries, protecting their brand is a priority task. They invest a lot in building and protecting their brands. Therefore, work related accidents could cause the companies or industries not only a temporary financial or material loss but also loss of customers’ trust in their brands.

The first ILO principle of OSH is avoiding hazard from working areas. Providing safety equipments is the last option. However, it is hardly possible to completely avoid hazard but only decrease it. This could be done by replacing hazardous materials and places with less hazardous ones and finally by fulfilling the facility to safety equipments.

According to Tilahun Niguse Assistant Coordinator of the Labor Affairs Board at the Bureau of Addis Ababa Labor and Social Affairs (BOLSA) the industrial investment in Ethiopia is only an emerging sector. As a result, it could be beyond the capacity of companies owned by local investors to utilize the latest and expensive machines.

He says more than forty eight cases have been processed in the past fiscal year alone. These industrial disputes have different causes which are related with contract termination, salary or OSH.

In this case, Tilahun emphasizes that awareness raising tasks about the labor law and harmonious industrial relations are intensified by the labor inspectors as well as the Labor Board of the Bureau. He says more than seven hundred employees and employers have gained the service from the Board only in the past fiscal year.

However, Yifokir strongly argues that improving OSH systems is the order of the day and that starts by accepting the fact that OSH is a significant part and parcel of investment. Creating close relationship between employers’ federations and employees’ associations or safety committees could also play crucial role.

There are common values that employees and employers could share. And these jobs are the basic socioeconomic values for the working class and productivity is one of the major goals for industries. Both cannot be achieved if there is no healthy or harmonious industrial relationship between employers and employees. When the Ethiopian labor proclamation considers the safety and health of the employees, productivity of industries is also a priority concern. Thus, employees have also strict regulations stated on the proclamation.

As a result, the government is exerting effort on encouraging investment and peaceful industrial relations with policies and strategies that could benefit both employees and employers. The labor proclamation clearly states the responsibilities and regulation of both parties. Everything that is in the labor law and the responsibilities given to the executive structures including the labor board are aimed at protecting the investment, working man power involved in it and sustaining the industrialization, notes Tilahun. Farther more, the implementation of the labor law is being undertaken in a consultative way that could benefit both the employees and employers. This is the very step forward for the country towards industrialization which aims to change the lives of those not only with mouths to feed but also who run big companies and create jobs for their fellow citizens.





Published in Development
Thursday, 14 September 2017 19:54

Why call Ethiopia an ‘African Tiger’?


It has been a while since Ethiopia earned the “African tiger” reference which came from the famous “Asian tigers”. The term the Asian Tigers refers to the countries South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore (and primarily their economies) and the term started being commonly used in the 1970s. They have been labeled the four Asian tigers since the 1960s when they all followed a similar path to development and went on to become developed at the start of the 21st Century.

These countries have been hailed as models of development for other emerging economies. The Four Asian Tigers have developed in a slightly different way to most of the other developed countries in the world. The conventional step taken to kick start development in the 1960s was to implement import substitution. This involved raising tariffs to reduce the imports of consumer goods, thereby allowing a country's own industry to develop and stabilize.

The Asian Tigers, however, decided to capitalize on the growing materialistic attitude and consumerism developing in much of Europe and North America and so pursued an export-driven model of industrialization and development instead. This was achieved by rapidly increasing the production of goods that could be exported to the highly industrialized nations of the world.

Various sources indicate that the main factors for their growth are mainly high saving rates and investment rates, outward orientation, factor productivity macro discipline, and other public policies. The common characteristics of the Asian tigers are:

Focus on exports: where as other developing countries use import substitution strategies for economic development, the Asian tigers focused on export oriented industrial development to richer countries. Domestic production was discouraged through government policies such as high tariffs.

Human capital development – they developed specialized skills for their personnel in order to improve productivity.

They had an abundance of cheap labor

Sustained rate of high growth rates (probably double digits) for decades

Non democratic and relatively authoritarian political systems during the early years

High tariffs on imports in the early days

Undervalued currencies

High saving rate

Sources state that a look at Singapore in particular between 1966 and 1990 show that the economy grew at a remarkable 8.5% per annum, 3 times faster than that of the growth rate of the US. Per capita income grew at 6.6%, roughly doubling every decade. The employed share of the population surged from 27% to 51%. The educational standard of the workforce was dramatically upgraded. The country grew tremendous levels of physical capital and investment as share of output rose from 11% to more than 40%. All this is part of the developmental miracle the country has registered over the stated period of time.

Now that we have some idea of what the Asian tigers are and identified their common characteristics, let’s see if Ethiopia indeed fits the “African tiger” reference by analyzing the changes in the country against a good a half of the common characteristics. I think it would be fair to say that the fulfillment of a half of the characteristics of the Asian tigers by Ethiopia makes the reference valid as the country has the longest part of its future ahead of it to register growth levels equating those of the Asian tigers.

Focus on Exports

As has been mentioned above, the Asian tigers adopted exports as the main strategy of international trade instead of the then fashionable policy of import substitution. The present five year plan of the country, the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) states that industrial expansion will be promoted based on both export oriented and import substituting industries.

Although tremendous focus has been accorded to the export sector in Ethiopia, the strategy in general focuses not only on exports but import substitution as well. Export promotion and diversification have generally enjoyed a bask in the sun during the last decade or so. However, export promotion and diversification had declined in the last five years.

Human Capital Development

The Asian tigers are known for developing_specialized skills for their personnel in order to improve productivity and the emphasis they allot education. GTP II has earmarked a major emphasis on education. On its education and training section, the document states that the government will increase its efforts in human resource development through improving access and quality of education.

The document states that efforts will be_made to gradually address issues that limit children in particular girls and women enrollment in terms of improving access to education. As for improving quality of education measures will be taken to address the shortcomings through increasing the number of teachers and schools. The government will enhance the implementation of General Education Quality Improvement Program.

The GTP also indicated the use of the TVET System to serve as a potential instrument for technology transfer, through the development of occupational standards, accreditation of competencies, occupational assessment and accreditation, establishment and the strengthening of the curriculum development system. TVET institutions will serve as the centers of technology accumulation for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs).

Abundance of cheap labor

The Asian tigers were characterized by an abundant cheap labor. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated Ethiopia’s labor participation rate to be a consistent 84% between 2010 and 2012. Labor force participation rate is the proportion of the population ages 15 and older that is economically active: all people who supply labor for the production of goods and services during a specified period.

The World Bank puts Ethiopia’s total labor force in the years between 2010 and 2014 at_43,591,175. Total labor force comprises people ages 15 and older who meet the International Labour Organization definition of the economically active population: all people who supply labor for the production of goods and services during a specified period. It includes both the employed and the unemployed. While national practices vary in the treatment of such groups as the armed forces and seasonal or part-time workers, in general the labor force includes the armed forces, the unemployed and first-time job-seekers, but excludes homemakers and other unpaid caregivers and workers in the informal sector.

With the total population of Ethiopia estimated to be in the ninety millions though, the World Bank’s estimates could run short of the reality as the 84% labor participation rate of the country identified by ILO takes the figure up to 77-80 million. With the price of labor set at one of the cheapest in the world, not only European and American but Chinese companies as well are migrating in numbers to the country.

Sustained rate of high growth rates (probably double digits) for decades

The Asian tigers experienced decades of very high growth rates. In the case of Ethiopia, the economy has been growing for about a couple of decades now but double digit growth averaging 10.4% has been registered for over a decade. Recent data indicate that Ethiopia is the third fastest growing economy in the world next to China and India. Ethiopia has also been identified recently as a country on course to double its per capita income within twelve or thirteen years.

Although it has just been a decade and half since Ethiopia started to register consistent double digit growth, the trend this far shows that the economy has picked up momentum to continue growth for a number of years. In line with forecasts made five years ago, Ethiopia is currently the fastest growing economy in the world.

The growth in the country is also noted for being cross-sectoral as the agricultural, industrial and service sectors have all enjoyed significant transformation within the last couple of decades. This cross-sectoral growth is considered to be the stable foundation upon which the country’s transformation is expected to be built.





Published in Editorial-View-Point
Thursday, 14 September 2017 19:52

Reducing power outage!


While Ethiopia has made significant strides in improving production of electric power, the distribution of the available power supply requires quick remedy as frequent power outage is causing damage on households and businesses alike.

The service sector, small businesses and mega projects are incurring loss because of the frequent power outage, which results in declining sales and forces them to spend a considerable amount of money on running generators. It also hinders their ability to operate with full capacity.

The frequent power outage occurring all over the country has become a perennial issue. The repeatedly fluctuated and interrupted electric power within the country is causing a lot of difficulties on dwellers: ranging from household level to business organizations. Citizens and both governmental institutions and the private sector have been constantly complaining that the frequent power outage is disrupting their day to day businesses.

In fact, with the construction of Gilgel Gibe III Dam, which has the capacity to generate up to 1870 Megawatt (MW), the country has managed to more than doubling its installed power capacity. There are also several ongoing projects, including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which would significantly improve the nation’s installed power capacity. Despite the significant improvement in power production, especially in hydro-power, the power outage is still here.

While the majority of power outages last only a few hours, some can last days or even weeks, completely shutting down productions, businesses and even service delivery at hospitals. And various researches shows that the financial impacts of even a small power cut can be catastrophic.

Power is the most important ingredient both in terms of industrialization and in keeping established industries well functioning. When there is an outage, its repercussions are costly and deeply felt by almost every sector of the economy. So, in a world where virtually everything is dependent on electricity, maintaining an uninterrupted flow of electric power is essential. This is generally speaking.

Specifically speaking, electric outage forces many companies into unintended cost, which they have to offset through some other means. It can hamper a country's ability to attract investment, and hurt its economy comparative advantage. As power outage also means a disruptive and unstable flow of electric power, it can damage equipment, both electrical and non electrical. It can hamper the day to day activities of the public.

Further, the issue of power outage is not simply the issue of power interruption. It is also the issue of image and trust building. For the country that is labeled as one of the fastest economy in the world, power outage has an adverse effect on its investment activities. This is an era where every human activity is associated with the usage of electricity. Every second has value for every investor. Every electric outage has cost for every factory.

There was a study recently done which showed how electricity changes the way people live, making it not just an economic tool, but a way of life. Thus, by this rationale, power outage can bring serious socio-economic cost to a nation.

The impact of the power outage is not limited to the economy alone, though. It also has serious social ramifications and compounding the hardship families are facing in fulfilling the needs of their children.

Ethiopian Electric Utility believes the main reason for intermittent power outages is old electric power distribution lines. That is why it is undertaking a rehabilitation project in the capital and eight major urban centers which will be fully finalized this Ethiopian budget year. The project aims to make improvements on the duration of power outages and minimize the frequency of the interruptions.

EEU is also going to rehabilitate and upgrade electric power distribution lines in six regional towns and many more are coming in the near future once feasibility studies are finalized. Hence, maximum efforts need to be exerted to finalize the projects on time and resolve the age long problems of citizens and businesses so that the economy maintains its tremendous progress.



Published in Editorial-View-Point


Sabre Corporation, a travel technology company advises African airline companies to improve check in process at terminals with the youngest population from UK and US showing interests to fly with African carriers to visit the continent.

Young travelers are willing to consider flying with African airways to visit the continents. That is because young travelers make comparisons on the sort of pricing, and technologies of the different carriers use. When they put these together, they find it interesting to fly with African airlines, said Dino Gelmetti, vice president, Airline Solutions, Sabre.

“But we have found in our survey that some travelers feel discomfort during check in and some do not have the information regarding the destinations where the airliners fly. Most of the customers' dissatisfaction are attributable to airports. Hence, it would be worthwhile to expanding and using technological solutions such as mobile booking. “Airlines need to look for other alternative bring innovation to the aviation industry. Governments should embrace the private sector.'” he added.

It is about assessing the services you are currently providing. Looking at the price and obviously improving technology are imperative. Rather than going and lining up for checking in the airport. There are other means to do easily, mobile is one option. Mobile penetration is tremendous in Africa. So the airlines should provide mobile booking to the customers. There is no one way of satisfying customers , the airlines need to see for several alternatives to meet the demand of their passengers, he added.

Esayas Weldemariam Ethiopian International Services Managing Director said Ethiopian has been working with SABRE airlines technology solution in developing porgramme and application about passenger handling, marketing research and other services.

The airlines has come up with different options to ease check in process. For instance instead of queuing in the checking in line, passengers now have the possibility of booking and checking in online. Besides, the airlines is also currently working with Sabre and other tec companies to meet customer sanctification with several other leading solutions, he said.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines signs up for Sabre Passenger Reservations Technology Solution. It was noted that Ethiopian will further enhance the customer experience with several other leading solutions, including Sabre Mobile Concierge, which help airlines deliver superior customer service, especially during peak times, providing airline employees all the information they need to address passenger issues.

The airline will also implement Sabre’s new revenue optimization software, which will enable Ethiopian Airlines to price its services based on a customer’s willingness to buy different combinations of fares and ancillary services, it was indicated.




Published in National-News
Thursday, 14 September 2017 19:47

TVETs providing competent human capital

The TVET program has been playing a significant role in achieving the country’s transformation to industry-led economy by providing skilled manpower in various fields.

Students graduated from various TVET programs are becoming important role players in various enterprises utilizing their knowledge and skill, Federal TVET Agency Coaches Development Coordinator Hailemichael Asrat told The Ethiopian Herald.

In GTP II, the government has been working to sustain the nation’s growth by industrializing the economy though enhanced FDI inflow and development of small and medium enterprises, he added.

Some 74 percent of last year’s TVET graduates are able to get jobs, while efforts are underway to increase the employment rate to 90 percent, he states.

As to him, sustainable financial and training support enables TVET graduates to be equipped with the required knowledge and skill and establish a successful career.

Today the graduates are playing constructive roles in various sectors of the economy both as employees in various governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as owners of their own businesses, he adds.

“TVETs have been filling the rising demand for efficient and skilled manpower in various disciplines.”

According to Hailemichael, the agency is working jointly with stakeholders to implement deliverlogy system to improve education quality.

The agency also set up to give capacity building practical training to the graduates before and after employment, he noted.

The country annually graduates over 800, 000 TVET students in regular and short term trainings.





Published in National-News
Thursday, 14 September 2017 19:40

Company commences aluminum export


An Ethiopian aluminum company - B&C Aluminum PLC - is to start exporting aluminum products to Egypt.

This is said to have positive implications on the country’s Metals and Engineering sector. Industry State Minister Dr. Alemu Sime said that the Company's endeavor does not only contribute in terms of bringing in foreign currency, but in terms of increasing their productivity and competitiveness as well.

He added that as the Metals and Engineering sector is prioritized to substitute import and save foreign currency, the local investors that are involved in the sector are expected to save foreign currency by substituting importation of similar products.

“As country’s foreign currency demand is increasing hugely parallel to nation's socio-economic development, it would be beneficial if every sector can be involved in export.”

Mentioning the country’s industry policy priority in producing goods that are internationally competitive, the State Minister pointed out that exporting aluminum to foreign market allows the country to see where it stands in terms of the global market standard, demand and competitiveness.

“Also, it has implication with regards to the industry sector in terms of strengthening our capability and competitiveness by scaling up technology.”

Furthermore, he touched upon the multidimensional support the government has been giving to the manufacturing sector in general, ranging from providing various tax incentives to sharing the cost in bringing in experts from abroad to the sector.

Company CEO Haimanot Abate relays his belief that the implication of company’s exportation to Egypt cannot be underestimated given the fact that Egypt has huge extrusion industry.

The CEO also mentioned Company’s role in filling the local market demand for aluminum and in saving foreign currency. As of now, we believe we have 30-40 percent of the local market share, producing 10 tons a day, he added.

According to him, the Company has been involved in various big construction gigs such as the 40-60 condominium housing scheme at ‘Crown’ and ‘Senga Tera’ sites.

Haimanot also talked about the interlinkage they have with various small and micro enterprises, and the government’s support. “The industry sector is not a sector, where you clap only with one hand; it needs the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders. We should take the industry level of our country to new heights and to the level where other countries have reached by working hand in hand.”

According to the Owner and Managing Director of the Company, Biruk Haile, the significance of the event far exceeds foreign currency and filling local market demand for aluminum.

For him, it is a showcase that the country is capable of doing anything up to the level and standard of other countries. It also shows the country's next generation entrepreneurs and industrialists’ capability to take over the mantle when the country’s economy transfer to an industry led one.

He further stated that it shows other Ethiopians that they can compete with other countries as long as they work hard, and he added; “we showed that it is possible by exporting aluminum products to a country that has huge extrusion industry by meeting their standard and breaking into their market.”

It is learned that the Company operates with an investment capital of 40 to 60 million ETB, with an employees of 550 to 600 Ethiopians.




Published in National-News
Thursday, 14 September 2017 19:32

EPU to finalize power supply upgrading this year

Ethiopian Power Utility (EPU) said the multimillion dollar power distribution capacity building, updating and upgrading project it has been undertaking to reduce duration and frequency of power outage will be completed this budget year.

While demand for electricity has been on the rise in the country, frequent power outage has for long been a major concern of and source of frustration for citizens and small and mega businesses alike. In Addis, the frequent power outage forced businesses to utilize power generators so that they go about their daily businesses smoothly.

However, nation has been massively engaged in expanding power production. For instance, the construction of Gilgel Gibe III Dam with a power output of about 1870 Megawatt (MW) was completed last year, thus more than doubling total installed capacity, according to the Ethiopian Electric power.

Gebregezabiher Taffere is Communication Directorate Director at the Ethiopian Power Utility, a company engaged in the business of distributing and selling electrical energy. He told The Ethiopian Herald that the major reason for the repeated power outage has been the low capacity of aged electric lines, transformers and poles. Hence, EPU is undertaking a rehabilitation project to repair and update electric power supply lines using fund from international partners.

“EPU is investing huge sums of finance and conducting capacity building and upgrading to reduce the frequency and duration of power outage,” he added. The new project would standardize electric supply to improve quality and service delivery.

The rehabilitation project in the capital and eight major urban centers will be fully finalized this Ethiopian budget year.

As to him, besides reducing the frequency and duration of power outage, the project would also ease power wastage and inefficiency and provide access to power to new customers.

The Addis Ababa project alone is being executed with a budget of 200 million USD, of which the Chinese Exim Bank provided a loan of around 163 million. The project is being undertaken by Power China, a Chinese company. The remaining financial loan for the capital’s and other projects was gained from the World Bank and oil producing countries, according to him.

The project would update old electric lines and replace the old wood utility poles with concrete ones. Some 146 km of underground electric line would also be installed in Addis Ababa.

While there are three projects in Addis, some 1000 km of electric line would be installed in one project alone. Several transformers and 20,000 concrete poles would also be installed.

Besides reducing power interruption, the ongoing project would also reduce security threats that electric lines and poles caused damage on human life and property previously.

The rehabilitation will also be expanded in other areas. “The project has also commenced in additional six cities with 1.7 billion birr and several others would also follow once feasibility study is conducted,” he said adding, “There are also other projects that are being carried out by foreign companies where Ethiopians are engaged in as sub-contractors.”




Published in National-News
Thursday, 14 September 2017 19:29

Informal channels raise red flag on forex earning

Beset by the ever expanding informal channels of remittance, Ethiopia may continue to grapple with shortage of hard currency unless swift and collective measures are put in place, 'Scaling up Formal Remittance to Ethiopia' report discloses.

A billion dollar transaction takes place via informal channels with 78 percent of the total remittance passing through informal networks in Ethiopia.

Some experts believe that the transfer of money through unregulated channels will also likely result in illicit financial flow and dealings. The seizure of 541,659 USD around Harar is a recent indication of informal corridors of hard currency.

Informal channels happen to be lophooles for global terrorism and corruption. It will open doors for illegal activities, people may use it to collect huge sums of money for their own dangerous causes, says Ethiopian Financial Security Director General Gemecu Weyema

There are some corridors where large amount of money exchange takes place including the black market in broad daylight in Addis Ababa's streets.

Informal flows not only cause loss of foreign exchange for the government, but also prevents it from tracking money laundering and terrorist financing and reduces the opportunities to encourage investment, says Leon Isaacs, Developing Market Associates (DMA) Global Chief Executive Officer who wrote the report.

While the Government has made great strides in recent years to increase the usage of formal remittances, informal networks remain prominent ways for Ethiopians abroad to send money back home, reveals the report.

Sending money to the sub-saharan Africa is the expensive. Ethiopia's money trasfer cost is lower than other sub-saharan countries but it is still too high as compared to the international rate. The average cost is around 10 percent which is so high. If it is able to lower down to less than up to two or three percent, customers will prefer to use formal ways.

Remittance is usually considered as low-hanging fruit for country's source of forex earning. It accounts 5 per cent of Ethiopia's GDP and a quarter of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Ethiopians remitted close to 4 billion USD in the last fiscal year alone. The value of remittance exceeded the country's export earnings in the first ten months of 2016.

On the other hand, billions of USD make its way to the country through informal ways potentially putting the country's foreign currency earning at risk.

Lack of access to services in the sender and receiver markets and high direct and indirect costs associated with formal channels force people to send remittance informally in addition to the regulatory barriers for undocumented migrants to use formal ways, adds Leon.

Some countries do not allow undocumented people to send money formally even if they wish to. In fact, there are also documented migrants, who are able to use formal channels but who, for a variety of reasons choose not to do so. In case of Ethiopia , they are either in Gulf States or South Africa which do not allow illegal migrants to send many legally. In this regard, Ethiopia, under many conditions can ,negotiate agreements with other countries to find the means for its illegal migrants to send money back home via formal channels, he also notes.

Ensuring the implementation of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy and prioritizing remittances as a specific tool for aiding financial inclusion and introducing awards and recognition schemes for top performing remittance companies are among the recommendations Leon makes.

Diaspora Engagement Directorate Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Demeke Atnafu for his part states, the Ministry embolden the diaspora to send money through formal channel and increase the volume of remittance.

“One of the priorities of our embassies is to strengthen link between money transferring agents with Ethiopian banks. The competition will decrease transaction costs and the diaspora can also have access to bank services easily” says Demeke. Conducting awareness raising porgram and showing the risks involved in using informal channels are also part of the tasks of the embassies. They also work to strengthen the link between money transfer agents in places where the diaspora reside, and the local banks. This would widen alternative banking services for the diaspora community, according to him.

National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) Senior Adviser Elias Loha says access to bank is improving through time. The volume of remittance has already reached four billion USD. Diaspora's engagement in terms of investment and remittance is seeing upward trajectories.

Some banks including Commercial Bank of Ethiopia are trying open agents oversees. In a move to discourage the use of informal channels and lower money transfer cost, local banks were made to rule out commission payments. Remittance money services providers were also made to post their fees on the website of the NBE so that the senders could choose the best available option.

NBE is making policy adjustments and formulation to encourage the use of formal channels of money transfer. “Of course the informal channel has significant share at this time. We need to improve accessibility and reliability of banking services there by increasing the number of people using informal ways to switch to formal ones. Introducing new methods of money transfer with the help of modern technology should be at the top of agenda of institutions working on the area,” he adds.





Published in National-News
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