Information from World Health Organization (WHO) about epilepsy fact sheet indicates that “Epilepsy is the most common chronic brain disorder globally and affecting people of all ages. More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy and 80percent of them live in developing countries.
With treatment, an estimated 70percent of people with epilepsy can be seizure free, yet about three fourths of people in developing countries do not get the treatment they need. Furthermore, people with epilepsy and their families frequently suffer from stigma and discrimination.
There is no predicting when and where the epileptic might fall. It could accidentally happen at anywhere and anytime. One must be lucky to fall in a safe places; asphalt roads busy of traffic, offices, and flag hoisting ceremonies, as well as walking or talking with friends cannot save the person from falling. Thus, one's luck may expose one to other dangers or breathing one's last.
Establishing an epilepsy awareness and recovery center is crucial to bring into play a communication tool related with providing swift and friendly releases about preconditions and care needed to avert its impact.
Currently one million Ethiopians, more than 10 million Africans as well as over 65 million peoples worldwide live with epilepsy. It takes 3-5 minutes to wake up and regain self-control after falling. While falling down a person might be exposed to physical injury. Epilepsy, by itself, might not be that difficult but patients could sustain heavy injuries when they drop down off guard or out of a sudden.
The impact of epilepsy is increasing from time to time. But it is little attention accorded to it. It is prevalent everywhere and could rock everyone's life. An epilepsy affected person is exposed to several challenges due to the illness's unexpected grip. It may happen while one is strolling on pedestrian walks or zebras, one is working, attending classes, swimming and what not.
Care Epilepsy-Ethiopia Founder and Director Enat Yewunetu said that considering epilepsy as a mental disorder, people bring epilepsy affected persons to mental hospitals. “Doing so is not right. Epilepsy and mental disorder are quite different things. Now I am determined to address the problem opening Care Epilepsy-Ethiopia, a center that primarily works on epilepsy,” she said.
She lives with epilepsy. She is highly committed to ease the challenges of the illness throughout the nation.
Epilepsy is incurable but manageable given continuous medical care and medical treatment on time. Currently, regarding epilepsy, a wrong perception prevails in Ethiopia.
The center is primarily organized to facilitate epilepsy centered awareness improvement across the country. It will work to avert exposure to preventable epilepsy during birth.
She relates her experiences as follows. ''Hearing the death of mothers and sisters falling on fire while preparing food is a source of anguish. This was what I observed while I had traveled to the Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples' State of Ethiopia.
“Epilepsy affected persons always need a person who watches them with in an eye-shot. For example I am an epileptic woman and I am taking medicines properly and on time twice per day, with a gap of 12 hours. But if I forget taking it, you will find me on the ground. I know firsthand the challenges faced by epilepsy affected persons. The main reason for the establishment of this center is the little or no attention given to the epilepsy affected persons in the country.''
Finally, she said that the center is doing with maximum effort to induce awareness on epilepsy. The center has organized a walk event, voluntary activities fund raising program, staging dramatic stories by portraying epilepsy affected persons as well as establishing platform to work with the ministry of health nationwide.
WHO also announced that it is working hand in hand with partners, health practitioners and stakeholders to improve health care access of epilepsy centers worldwide.
Epilepsy is not similar with other mental problems. It might occur during childhood or at other ages. The severe impact of the illness is affecting people not to freely move with and on time twice per day with a gap of 12 hour out of fear. It casts a shadow on their productiveness and being competent with fellow citizens. The establishment of such centers will have significance in facilitating hospitals and health sector practitioners. It as well contributes towards the betterment of epilepsy affected people's life.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
ADDIS ABABA – In an unexpected move, the world football governing body, FIFA, extended the date of the Ethiopian football Federation Presidential and Executive Committee members Election to mid-March. In a statement citing the shortage of human power FIFA suggested that they will send observers in mid-March, without specifying the date
This was the fifth time to change the election date in the span of three months. At first election was set to take place on November 10-11, 2017 but postponed for December 25 due to the intervention of the world football governing body, FIFA.
According to FIFA’s election procedures all national federations that plan to conduct General Assembly and presidential election to establish a new administration are expected to notify the international football governing body 30 days before the actual election takes place.
Plus, when national federations plan to elect the president and executive committee members, the FIFA procedure states, an independent Electoral Committee must be set up to carry out the process of the election.
In the Ethiopian case the national federation notified FIFA a week before the date of the Presidential election and it was confirmed that the Electoral Committee was not set up. So FIFA ordered the EFF to change the date and form an independent Electoral Committee. Due to this the EFF extended the date for December 25.
Though both FIFA requirements were made, the Electoral Committee extended the date for the third time to January 13, 2018 citing the fact that Dec. 25 coincided with Christmas and the New Year.
The Electoral Committee made this decision FIFA observers are unable to come to Ethiopia breaking their vacation.
When the entire Ethiopian people including the five candidates were waiting for January 13, FIFA ordered the EFF to postpone the date for two basic reasons.
One, FIFA notified to the EFF that it received a letter form the Electoral Committee that indicates the interference of the government in the election procedure. FIFA outlaws government interference in the running of football.
Two, January 13 happen to be coincided with African Championship, better known as CHAN Cup. Due to this the FIFA observers are tied with the CHAN program.
Considering these two reasons, FIFA requested the postponement of the date of the Presidential election. That was how the change was made for the fourth time.
What was remained unchanged was the venue. The EFF once again confirmed that the meeting place will be the capital of Afar region, Semera.
The EFF had once tried to change the venue from Semera to Addis Ababa. This was during the foiled first General Assembly scheduled to take place on November 10-11, 2017.
The Afar representative who was present in that foiled General Assembly strongly argued that the venue shouldn’t be changed without giving convincing reasoning to the host city and the participants.
The Afar representative argued that the region did everything possible to host the General Assembly as per the requirements of the EFF. The cost the region incurred for preparation was immense besides the psychological impact on the people of Afar.
The participants of the foiled General Assembly agreed to fix the venue as it was before.
This is the second time to change the date of the presidential election by the order of FIFA. It is also the fifth time to face change of schedule. Will the Presidential election take place in the fifth trial?
Again there is no guarantee but the hope is that FIFA will fix the date very shortly. If that is the case the FIFA schedule is highly likely to be respected as they have the full authority to put things in order.
There are five Presidential candidates who are contesting to become the next president of the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF).
The five men hoping to take the country’s football highest position are the incumbent President Juneidin Basha, former president Dr. Ashebir Woldegiorgis, Teka Assefaw, Dagim Melashen and Esayas Jira.
Three of the candidates including the incumbent President are not new faces for the people. The former President Dr. Ashebir was there for nearly six years until he was replaced by Sahilu Gebrewold in 2010. Dr. Ashebr’s term was marred with turbulence unseen in the country’s history.
The country was suspended from the international body for a brief period. Teka Asfaw was the deputy President in Sahilu’s four-year tenure.
Dagim and Esayas Jira are relatively new faces for the public.
The Ethiopian Football Federation is one of the founding members of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 1957 along with Egypt, Sudan and South Africa. But due to its Apartheid policy South Africa was ousted from CAF same year.
Compiled by Solomon Bekele
ADDIS ABABA – Genzebe Dibaba whipped the small Ethiopian crowd into a delighted frenzy, as she stormed to a popular and frantically-wide victory in a dramatic women’s 1, 500m final at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.
That night really saw a remarkable drama at Arena Birmingham when the great Genzebe won her second gold in three days in 1,500 meters at a time of four minutes 05.27 seconds.
The reporter from the spot wrote: The peerless Ethiopian Genzebe, who had lifted the 3,000 metres title on Thursday, had her work cut out to achieve the double in the metric mile but produced another solo tour de force.
Stretching her pursuers to breaking point by powering for home with almost a kilometre left, the 27-year-old kept Britain’s silver medalist Laura Muir and Dutch defending champion Sifan Hassan at bay to enjoy a convincingly victory.
It made her only the fourth athlete ever to win five individual gold medals in the championships.
She said, “Last year I was sick (when finishing out of the medals at the world outdoor championships in London) but this time I was ready to run for my country.” “This is gold for all the people of Ethiopia.”
Meanwhile, in the men’s race another Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha successfully defended his 3000m title with a powerful display of front running over the final kilometre of a tactical final.
The IAAF World Indoor Tour winner took charge after 2000 metres, which was reached in a comfortable 5:51.71 following a pedestrian 3:08.24 opening kilometre.
Frustrated by the pace and with energy saved from the first 10 laps, Yomif unleashed a final kilometer of 2.22.70. Having covered the final lap in 26.82, Yomif refused to heed his prime position and crossed the line a clear winner in 8:14.41.
His winning time is the slowest in the 32-year history of the championships by more than 10 seconds, but that mattered little to the young Ethiopian. The second was his compatriot Solomon Berega.
“I’m very happy to be the world indoor champion again,” said Yomif. “During the race, I saw everyone was very confident but I was the one controlling everybody. When I pushed, I went with my friends and I was able to show off my power. I’m very happy. I am sure the people of my country feel happy by this result.
“This year, I stood second in one of the tours but my coach has been working with me to make my race a little bit faster than it was before. I succeeded in that. In my previous race, I had a problem with my speed in the last few laps and I couldn’t control the race, but after making good training on that I’m very good with my kick at the end.
“Next year, I want to break the 5000m world record,” the confident Yomif predicted.
The third Ethiopian who collected gold in 1, 500m is Samuel Tefera. The reporter from the spot said that 36 days ago the young Samuel Tefera of Ethiopia had never run an indoor track race in his life. Now, he is both the world indoor junior record holder and world indoor champion as he won tactical men’s 1500 in 3:58.19.
In this big international meet Ethiopia stood second with four gold medals and one silver behind the United States of America with a tally of 6 gold medals, 10 silver and 2 bronze medals. Poland won the third place with two gold medals, two silver and one bronze medal. Neighboring Kenya took way behind the 24th place with only one bronze medal.
Compiled by Solomon Bekele
National U-20 side to face Burundi
ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian U-20 national football team will take on Burundi in the African U-20 championship that will take place in Niger.
The first leg in the U-20 qualifier is set to take place in Addis Ababa in mid-March. The return leg is scheduled in Burundi in three weeks time.
CAF yet to evaluate Ethiopia’s preparation for 2020 CHAN Cup
ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian football Federation (EFF) has officially received the CHAN flag to host the 2020 African Championship, commonly known as CHAN Cup, at the closing day of the fifth CHAN Cup in Morocco.
The continental football governing body, Confederation of Africa Football, CAF, didn’t show up to evaluate Ethiopia’s performance in its preparation for the 2020 CHAN Cup.
The host nation Morocco took the fifth CHAN Cup title beating Nigeria 4-0 in the final.
The EFF President Jonedin Basha received the flag in that closing ceremony. But will the Ethiopian national team lift the trophy like the host nation Morocco did during the fifth CHAN Cup?
Considering the current performance of the national team it is difficult to give positive answer to the question raised.
Preparation is in full swing for All Ethiopia Games
ADDIS ABABA – All regions have already started preparation for All Ethiopia Games that will take place in Mekele. The Tigray administration indicated that everything is in place for the games.
The Oromia and Amhara regions including the Addis Ababa city administration are completed the selection of athletes who represent their respective teams. Regions like Afar and Gambella have also carried out their local competition to select athletes who represent their respective regions in this big national event.
Mekele City keep second spot without head coach Yohanes
ADDIS ABABA – Mekele City sustained their second position on 26 points at the end of the Ethiopian Premier League first round despite the suspension of their Coach Yohanes Sahile who was suspended five matches not guide his side from the pitch.
The EFF Disciplinary Committee also imposed 4, 000 birr money fine on Yohanes. The coach was punished after it was confirmed that he insulted the deputy coach Zerai Mulu during his team’s play against Sidama Coffee in Mekele.
Despite this stern measure Mekele City managed to finish second at the end of the first round. Mekele City joined the elite league at the start of this year.
Compiled by Solomon Bekele
Ethiopia has been demonstrating significant commitment in expanding industrial parks that would facilitate proper environment for Foreign Direct Investment. These parks are key elements of the infrastructure supporting the growth the country has been pursuing. The construction of the parks is the continuation of nation's commitment to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable economic growth over a couple of decades. Although the country mainly concentrated on developing the agricultural sector in those years, it has been exerting efforts to develop the industrial sectors side by side.
Through providing a location in which government, private sector and universities cooperate, these parks create environments that foster collaboration and innovation. They also enhance the development, transfer and commercia- lization of technology and global know- ledge.
About 50 years ago, manufacturing industries in the country were dominated by cottage and handcraft industries which met most of the population’s needs for manufactured goods such as clothes, ceramics, machine tools and leather goods. And it was impossible for the nation to invest on industry as it had no adequate capital. The only option the country had was to develop the agriculture sector and integrated it with the industrial development.
Several factors including lack of basic infrastructure, the absence of private and public investment and the lack of any consistent public policy aimed at promoting industrial development contributed to the stagnation of manufacturing industries. Since 1991, as a result of economic liberalization and commissioning of a comprehensive industrial policy, various reforms reversing the command economy were introduced. As a result, in those twenty six years, the country has invested a lot to develop the manufacturing sector.
In the present system, the government has been undertaking various activities to expand its economy to alleviate poverty and compete with the global markets. In order to realize this, the nation is striving to be the hub of light manufacturing industries in Africa. The country registered a double-digit economic growth in the past two decades, which is expected to be sustained and attributed to many factors mainly to the development prudent policies and strategies of the country that have a clear national vision aiming to achieve middle-income status by 2025.
In connection to this, the nation established appropriate policies and strategies for the manufacturing sector's development which is an integral policy direction to the achievement of a vibrant and competitive industrial sector. To facilitate this transformation, the government prioritizes the development of textile and garments. The textile industry in the nation has been contri buting a lot for export growth for the last few years. The textile and apparel sector had managed to create over 45,000 job opportunities till the previous year. This achievement is expected to reach fourfold by the end of the Second Growth and Transformation Plan. The government has planned to generate one billion USD from the textile sector in the same period. To make this happen, the government has so far designed policies and strategies to promote Foreign Direct Investment and lure private investors to the sector.
The textile and garment sector requires the latest technology, vendors of raw materials, chemical laboratory equipment, digital textile printing machines and waste processing technologies. To sustain businesses, the textile industry needs to be leaning on export and ready-made garments with cost-efficiency by using the latest technology.
Among other things, Ethiopia has cheap labor, cheap electricity, conducive investment climate and duty free custom services. Due to these and other incentives, Chinese and Indian textile manufacturers are shifting their plants to Ethiopia.
To speed up nation's economic transformation, the textile sector could play very significant role to considerably boost huge productivity in GTP II. This will be attainable if the government can enhance the development of the Ethiopian textile industry through empowering the required skilled manpower.
Of course, the textile and apparel industries could also play imperative contribution to improve people's livelihood and are important to exploit manuf acturing industries. Above all, the sector has to consume the raw materials gained from the agriculture sector and produce globally competitive commodities that can generate foreign currency.
These days, domestic and foreign investors are entering in textile industries aiming at exploiting domestic consumption and meeting the export needs. But, the number of domestic investors engaged in the sector is not sufficient compared with their foreign counterparts, despite much of them are occupied by foreign investors. However, this often provokes grievance among local investors and who want to participate in the investment area. It is good if they accumulate technical and financial capability before they want to enter industrial parks.
In the recent years, the sector has shown encouraging progress and provided fundamental contribution for the economic and social growth of Ethiopia. Though textile is one of the essential commodities that bring considerable export earnings to the nation, it must develop the capacity of fulfilling all round engineering and technology facilities.
Of course, the sector dramatically proceeds to be an extremely ever-changing and essential sector of the economy providing large scope for competent graduates to make their appraisal. It is also essential to exploit other countries' clothing-related technological knowledge, skills and experience in a specialized area of textile technology and management. In this case, domestic investors have solidified role of setting up industries massively, and in recruiting human power.
Therefore, industries that are engaged in textile are required to hire skilled human power to beefing up FDI at expected level. On the other hand, foreign investors are hoped-for to equip and transform the textile manpower to a stage where it should provide competitive support and service based on international standard.
It is also important to boost the national textile productivity through empowering adequate local manpower with technologies and technical advice. Though there is higher interest to engage in export-led oriented industries, the country has been implementing the industrial development strategy to reduce foreign currency scarcity, and pave ways to produce globally competitive commo- dities.
To make this happen, industries should produce quality and standardized commodities. To speed up the growth of Ethiopia's textile industry, textile companies need to have superseding significance in raising its competitiveness, creating employment, and earning foreign currency among other things.
Consequently, the government is currently working to improve, support and expand the textile industry both in the national and foreign markets to win the competitiveness among international markets. Students in universities and colleges are aspiring, and have key role to further maximize benefits from the sector. In line with this, factories should have well equipped laboratory to add quality and efficiency of products.
In this regard, local stakeholders have also key role to play in empowering professionals through supplying hands-on experience opportunity at factories and other places of work. Likewise, the government must also provide due emphasis to ensure the sector's competitiveness and sustainable growth in textile and garment sector. With regard to this, the government should design and implement the prudent policies and strategies which can encourage investors so as to transform the textile industry. It should support them to exploit their potential and create impact in the economy.
As many scholars agree, the best way to develop the country's economy is to enhance and diversify its industries by clearly identifying its latent comparative advantages. Ethiopia recognizes that the development of the textile sector is the right path to industrialization.
Introducing structural transformation in the manufacturing and agricultural sector is a key factor to realize Ethiopia’s vision to join middle income country. To ensure this, the economy should needs to grow by 11 percent for the next consecutive 10 years and contribution of manufacturing sector in the economy should scale up to by 25 percent.
The development of industrial parks in Ethiopia is instrumental in creating jobs for qualified professionals. It also enables manufacturing of quality products that exportable on the international market while promoting the transfer of high tech.
The industrial parks beyond strengt hening industry and agricultural linkage, it would aims to highly contribute to regional economic integration and technological transformation as well.
The government has given attention to bring competitive investors with management skills, technological capacity, market ties in the textile and apparel sector.
It also encourages and will provide incentive to local investors with special policy and package including investment loan, support for capacity building and market linkage.
The expansion of industrial parks brought new industrialization phase in the country.
In the GTP-II, the government has planned to build 10 industrial parks in selected areas of the country. A legal framework, the Industrial Parks proclamation, was also introduced in order to ensure proper management and development of industrial parks.
Generally, to achieve sustainable development, the applications of top-level technical expertise and other available tools are essential. And the development of industrial parks that is a cornerstone for the development of manufacturing sector that plays considerable roles for the implementation of Ethiopia’s vision to become middle income country and top light manufacturing hub by 2025.
BY ZELALEM GIRMA
Recently, the President of the United Nations General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak has paid a visit to Ethiopia. He had meetings with Ethiopian government officials and African Union authorities. The Ethiopian Herald made a short stay with him with the intention of letting him share the purpose of his visit for our readers. Excerpts:
Q: Would you explain the purpose of your visit and its significance for Ethiopia?
A: I have come to Ethiopia as the President of United Nations General Assembly. My visit has basically three reasons: First, Ethiopia is a country which is very active and dedicated member of the United Nations. Currently, it is non-permanent member of the Security Council. In addition to actively participating in UN'S peace-keeping missions, the nation is effectively implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. I had meetings with the President of Ethiopia and other officials to discuss Ethiopia's commitment to implement the UN agenda. Second, Addis Ababa is the seat of the Africa Union and here I had meetings with the Permanent Representative of Africa countries and with the Chairperson of African commission. We spoke the processes in which we can develop cooperation between the United Nation's and Africa Union. Third, I am also meeting with the UN families here: UN office to Africa African Union, UN country team to Ethiopia and UN Economic Commission for Africa. All these can give me the proper picture of the African continent, Ethiopia and United Nations concerning the intended cooperation.
Question: What is the purpose of the General Assembly? What is your role as the president?
A: The general Assembly is the most representative organ of the United Nations. It is the only organ where all 193 members of the United Nations are present. And they all are equal and have equal voice, similar roles. These make this organ very unique. And according to the Charter, the General Assembly deals with any issue it considers important. It is also the only organ that is unlimited in the scope of its agenda.
I also travel to get feedback from the member states and to inform them what the General Assembly is undertaking and to make sure that they represent their views. There are very important processes going in the General Assembly. And one of the purposes of my visit is to discuss the priorities of the General Assembly with African and Ethiopian authorities.
Q: Ethiopia is among the state members. How do you work with Ethiopia?
A: We involved every member state; but Ethiopia is the second most populated country in Africa which gives it a special role in the Horn of Africa where there are several challenges including issues related to peace and security. Thus, we closely work with Ethiopia in order to find solutions for these challenges. Next, Ethiopia is a very active participant in the activities organized by the United Nations. For instance, we have the Sustainable Development Goals which is the global agenda. The case of Ethiopia shows that the agenda is being implemented in Africa . I have been working closely with Ethiopia as the UN General Assembly President. Ethiopia is one of the three Africa countries on the UN Security Council that gives it the very prominent roles and voice.
Q.: How do you see Ethiopia's commitment in implementing UN's agenda?
A: Ethiopia has significant participation in the UN's agenda; it has active role in peace and security in the continent. It is actively implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in addition to promoting good governance.
Q: UN is undertaking certain reforms these days. How do you explain that?
A: The philosophy is very simple: the world is changing. The UN needs to update itself to the current circumstances. It has to be ready to provide answers to the current global challenges. This is the philosophy behind the reforms.
The UN was established in 1945 when the global situations were very different from that of today's. Over the 72 years of its existence, it has constantly been involving. Right now there are several reforms going on in it. One is the discussion about the reform of Security Council to make it more representative so that it reflects the reality of the 21st century. The second is the revitalization of the General Assembly that means the member states want the General Assembly to play active and more visible roles. They want to strengthen the role of the General Assembly. Finally, there are three concrete reforms that represented by Secretary General António Guterres. One is addressing the peace and security architecture; Second one addressing the development and system reform and the third one addressing the management reform. All the member states discuss and decide on the final version.
BY WAKUMA KUDAMA
According to the recent International Labour Organzation(ILO), there are 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment worldwide. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.
It is true that children are prohibited from engaging in occupations designated as the worst forms of child labour under the Ethiopia law. The law also prohibits the compulsory or forced labour of children. However, a large number of children have been engaged in various domestic and hard labour particularly in urban areas of the nation.
According to many researches on child labour, children exposed to labour exploitation suffer from several social, health and physiological problems.
Undoubtedly, a child who is forced to work develop low self esteem, feeling of frustration and hopelessness, among others. Those who make fortune out of the suffering of the children should know that unknowingly or knowingly they are destroying the future of the nation.
In deed, the government of Ethiopia has achieved a lot in enrolling all school age children over the last two decades. But, enormous number of children could not go to school as they are working for long hour in domestic services or on farms.
With less knowledge of child labour, parents and relatives get involved in child trafficking to the urban centers as a result many children are left in hazardous work. we find children working in construction and manufacturing.
In rural areas, children especially boys are engaged in activities such as cattle herding, petty trading, plowing, harvesting and weeding while mostly girls collect firewood and water. Furthermore, children in urban areas are engaged in shinning shoes, tailoring, portering and the like.
Since many girls who trafficked to Addis Ababa work in domestic service, they are highly vulnerable to sexual abuse on top of various domestic violence. They are also unable to attend school.
Apparently, the government has integrated the prevention and control e of child labour in its various development polices and plans. It as well established departments under the Ministry of Labour and Social affairs that are responsible to enforce child labour laws. Likewise there are a number of police departments in various urban areas of the country that have Special Child Protection Units These units work to address the worst forms of child labour, including child trafficking.
To address the problem of child labour exploitation, the government and the pertinent bodies are expected to exert more concerted efforts through country- based programmes which may include building institutional capacity , putting in place concrete prevention and controlling measures, awareness raising and mobilization aimed at changing social attitudes and promoting effective implementation of ILO child labour Conventions.
It is also important to mention here that those children who are already victimized of child labour need training on psycho-social rehabilitation in sustainable and integrated manner.
In general ,the fight against child labour at local and international levels requires multi- stakeholders' initiatives and' interventions aimed at preventing and controlling child labour exploitation.
Since children are the future of a given country, everybody should play his/her roles in exposing criminals who enforce children to work long hour and abused them physically and emotionally under any circumstances. Ceaseless awareness deepening campaigns regarding child labour laws should be given to parents and relatives who get involved in child trafficking in a bid to refrain them for the illegal activities.
Children need protection , care and love in order to grow up as good citizens. Therefore, a country which is blessed to have well nurtured and educated young generation would overcome any challenges in the efforts to cast off poverty and backwardness.
ADDIS ABABA - From the very beginning ,Ethiopia has been doing its level best to implement International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions paying particular attention to child labour laws , said Mesfin Girma, Children Expert at the Ministry of Social and Labor affairs
In his recent exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, he said that ILO categorizes male and female under the age of 18 as children and every chore that is done by such age group including the domestic one is tantamount to labor exploitation.
According to him, about 80 percent of the Ethiopian population engages actively in routine domestic chores like fetching water ,collecting firewood and sitting babies.
Children labour are also being employed in farming and harvesting, he said adding that parents have positive attitude towards children engagement in various works.
The Ethiopian law categorizes bellow the age of 14 as child and at this age it is assumed that the child reaches to grade 8 student if he is enrolled in school. How ever, denying children rights access to education, health and other amenities is unacc eptable by law and parents who are found guilty of denying the mentioned rights are liable to legal accountability.
“Though the law stipulates children rights to be protected, studies indicates that the prevalence of child labor exploitation in some parts of rural and urban centers,” he said.
As to him, poverty,illegal child trafficking,the increasing number of brokers engaged in such ill practices have been aggravating the situation.
On the other hand, improper cognition with regard to urban life,peer group pressure,high ambition for independent living,the need for better education and job made children to be trapped by illegal child traffickers.
According to Mesfin, most small scale enterprise owners in urban centers used to utilize child labor as paying less salary maximizes their profit margin.
Many countries tries to eradicate child labor exploitation through supervision but fail to achieve it. But, now instead of supervising , they have begun to conduct awareness raising campaigns towards ending child labour.
ADDIS ABABA - Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs underscored that the right to form association plays a crucial role in maximizing employee productivity and building sense of ownership apart from upholding workers' rights.
The Ministry Industrial Peace Relations Directorate Director Fikadu Gebru told The Ethiopian Herald recently that the objective of expanding investment opportunities in the country is not only to maximize the investors' profit margin, but also to protect workers' rights.
Moreover, investors are expected to create strong team spirit and healthy economic activities via allowing workers to form association, he said.
According to him, through the associations ,workers make union agreement with the management with a view to actively participating in a given organization's day to day activities.
Capitalizing on the formation of workers' association, he said that it would create conducive environment to workers and make them to stay for long in the organization. It as well benefit the employer as he/she will have good enough number of experienced workers, he added.
“When workers have a grievance against an organization, the turnover will be higher and this in turn harms the organization and leads to bankruptcy.”
As to Fikadu, these-days,productive and service provider organizations need to be competent not only in local market but also in the international market.
He ,therefore,underlined the need for establishing workers' association aimed at realizing win-win deal.
The Second Growth and Transfor- mation Plan clearly indicates that the private sector would be an engine of economic growth and to advance private sector role, government provides incentives such as provision of tax holidays ,speedy tax and custom services.
Fikadu indicated that the govern- ment never interfere in forming workers' association, but it has a responsibility of creating awareness about workers' rights. “ The pertinent entity which has a mandate to organize workers is the Ethiopian Workers Association Confederation.”
BY ABEBE WOLDE GIORGIS
Creating enabling environment for boosting the economy is the overall responsibility of a given government. However, making use of the favorable investment opportunities is up to the investors.
Thwarting bureaucratic hurdles for businesspersons has been an uphill battle for the developing countries like Ethiopia. Why is that ?
For the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association President Engineer Melaku Azezew, the prevalence of bureaucratic red tape in public offices discourages businesspersons not to do business efficiently. “Redundant instructions and directives also make day -to- day business activities sluggish.”
He, therefore, says the absence of well established system make doing business harder, opening the door for red tape here.
Yossef Alemu, Head of Trade and Sectoral Association Department at the Ministry of Trade, says the government has been doing every thing in its power to tackle bureaucratic hurdles. For instance, There has been series of discussions between the government and the private sector to create conducive business environment apart from exerting efforts of improving the existing Commercial Registration and Business Licensing Proclamation and promulgating a new Public Private Partnership Proclamation, he adds.
As incentives, he notes that the government has allowed investors to import some goods for free of tax and has been also offering tax holidays and land at lower price for anchor investors .
It as well has been easing the nation's financial access and establishing a number of industrial parks across the country, he indicates.
As to Melaku, the government enacted new proclamation to create conducive business environment in 2002. “Of course, the proclamation has been serving as a bridge between the government and the business community since that day .”
Nevertheless, from the very beginning, the proclamation has loopholes, says Endalkachew Sime, the Secretary General of Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. “For example, it does not go along with the ever changing business environment in the country , hence, the law has to be improved.”
In the efforts to address the loopholes,he says, for many times, the chambers have been conducting extensive discussions with government officials including the Prime Minister.
Some of the ideas of the members of the chambers have been positively accepted by the state officials and utilized as inputs for the amendment of the tax laws, he adds.
Regarding to the studies that were made by foreign companies related to improving tourism business, Endalkachew says they have gained green light form the government and by far the custom service in this end has been amnded.
BY ABEBE WOLDE GIORGIS