Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

9 December 2012

Ethiopia: Tight Budget Belts

Mekuria Haile, , minister of Urban Development & Construction (MoUDC), took a rather firm stand with heads of Regional Urban Development bureaus, stating that they needed to take more responsibility for the development of their respective towns and bring results instead of asking for more assistance from the Federal Government.

A two day conference organised to discuss an integrated approach in use of funds handed out by the MoUDC to regional towns that need special assistance, chaired for the most part by Hailemeskel Tefera state minister for MoUDC, had brought questions from heads of regional bureaus and municipal mayors that enough subsidies and support were not being provided by the Federal Government.

Mekuria, who appeared at the opening and closing of the conference, discounted the claims of the regional officials saying that the sustainable way out is not asking for more assistance but bolstering the revenue generation potential of regional towns and resolutely attracting investment.

"If you do so, the funds will come," Mekuria stated. His stand, however, came along with a recognition that the Federal Government would continue with the support that it provides to the cities, by collating resources from its own budget and external resources. Current support programs include a 300 million dollar revolving fund from the World Bank that supports development of regional cities.

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