The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa)

12 October 2009

Ethiopia: Meles Insists Economic Growth Against Inflation, Defends President's Speech

Addis Ababa — Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his government prefers to insist on its stand that it is the only way of managing to control inflation without abandoning from increasing the country's economic development.

The premier said the government has planned to increase export revenue by 25 per cent.

The inflation rate, which was over 20 per cent during last Ethiopian fiscal year, was reduced below zero per cent at the end of the year, Meles indicated in his remark to the parliament on Saturday adding that achieving to attain economic development and managing to decrease inflation at the same time was quite an achievement.

He further said the government is committed to reduce inflation rate to 10 per cent level in this fiscal year.

Prime Minister Meles has also disclosed the position of the government regarding the inclusion of 14 motions in the president's speech that are related to politics, economics and social issues.

It is to be recalled that President, Girma Woldegiorgis highlighted the top agendas of the Ethiopian government for the current year in his opening speech made on 05 Oct. 2009 at the Joint Session of the two houses.

Opposition Parliamentarians have tabled various amendment motions on the presidents' speech.

The amendment motions, among others, consist of various issues including inflation, drought, global warming, electric power cut and alternative debate solution mechanism instead of legal judiciary systems.

In his response to the amendment motions raised by the parliamentarians following the Opening Speech of the president, Meles said the President's speech should be endorsed without any amendment motions since it has included key priorities of the government.

Hence, the HPR, in its extraordinary meeting held on Saturday, endorsed the draft bill incorporated on President Girma Speech made on 05 October 2009 at the Joint Session of the House of People's Representatives (HPR) and House of Federation (HoF).

Concerning the question of salary increment, Meles said it would be meaningless to increase the salary of government employees with out controlling inflation first.

Increasing salary has a more serious devastating impact than its importance in exacerbating in inflation rate we fight for reducing it. If we intend to do so, it would mean escalating inflation further." Meles told the parliament Meles rejected almost all suggested motions to the speech of the president, although he showed a little node to accept the notion of few motions in principle.

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