The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has told the investors engaged in Agro-processing and Agricultural sector to conclude paying their 190 million Br pledge for the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) before the end of September 2012.
This was announced at a meeting called by the Ministry on Thursday, September 13, 2012, at the ministry headquarters located at Asmera Road. The meeting chaired by Wondirad Mandefro, state minister for Agriculture, was started by a moment of silence for the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
The MoA had promised to raise 323 million Br from investors engaged in horticulture and agricultural pesticides and chemicals, of which investors in agriculture pledged the highest, followed by the horticulture sector. However, it managed to collect only 64.1million Br, of which 40.9 million Br is collected from the horticulture and chemical sector.
The two sectors are selected because they have performed less in keeping their pledges, according to Mohammed Shemsu, the Ministry's public relations officer. Investors in agriculture and agro processing who pledged 133 million Br and 56.9 million Br have only bought 18 million and 5.2 million Br worth of bonds, respectively. The horticulture and chemical sector that pledged 120 million Br and 15.9 million Br respectively have bought 30.7 million Br and 10.2 million Br so far. "These two are performing well and we are expecting that they will finish soon," Mohammed hoped.
The state minister has presented a list of companies who have paid their pledges and who have not.
"I was surprised," an investor who attended the meeting told Fortune. "It was a detailed list and we know who pays how much."
The Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), which is in charge of selling bonds dubbed as GERD bond, has collected around one billion Br in first half of the just ended fiscal year, according to its half year performance report.
The investors were told that they have to pay the pledged amount timely so long as they did it voluntarily.
However, some of the investors in the agricultural sector claim that they did not pay their pledges because there was market problem last year. It was not a particularly good year for coffee and cotton growers.
The cotton growers who have harvested surplus cotton still have their products in their warehouse as textile factories show reluctance in buying. Though the government recently lifted the export ban imposed a year ago, it did not help them much because the international price was low.
The international price of coffee has also been low in the ended fiscal year due to a positive production forecast of major coffee producing countries in the world. This has made it a challenge for the Ethiopian coffee growers to fetch a better price.
However, all the investors agree to pay their pledges in this month, according to the investor that Fortune talked too.
"We have no choice, we pledged and it's our country."