Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

17 February 2013

Ethiopia: Govt Appoints New Director General for Investment Agency

Fitsum Arega, the former head of the Addis Abeba Investment Agency has been appointed director general of the Ethiopian Investment Agency (EIA), a post, which has been vacant for a year and half since the departure of Abi Woldemeskel.

The Agency, which is tasked with the promotion of private direct investment, has been led by Acting Director, Mohammad Seid, since the departure of Abiy, who assumed the position in 1991 for more than 20 years. Abiy was deputy director of the Agency while Tadesse Haile, the current state minister for Industry, was the director general.

The Agency was unable to find a suitable replacement until it decided on Fitsum on February 8, 2013.

Fitsum joined the Addis Abeba City Administration in October 2008, when Kuma Demeksa was elected Mayor of Addis Abeba. He also worked as the head of the Addis Abeba Trade & Industry Bureau until 2011, after leaving his position at the Prime Minister's Office.

The effective implementation of the new investment proclamation approved by the parliament in July 2012 will now rest on Fitsum's shoulders. The proclamation aims to provide a one-stop-shop service for the manufacturing sector, while restructuring the Agency.

"The Agency is undergoing a structural transformation in order to implement the proclamation as effectively as possible," Getahun Negash, corporate communication director of the Agency told Fortune.

The draft regulation that allows the Agency to rearrange its structure is awaiting approval at the Council of Ministers and it is going to be effective within a month, said Getahun.

The Agency, which employs close to 150 people, also asked the Privatisation & Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA), which occupied three storeys of the six-storey building housing the EIA, on Africa Avenue, infront of Dembel City Centre, to leave within the next 10 days, according to Getahun.

This was done to make a room for the seven government bodies that are responsible for facilitating investment in the country together with the Agency.

The seven institutions that will open their doors include the Developmental Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE),the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the Addis Abeba Water & Sewerage Authority (AAWSA).

The new proclamation requires the Agency to delegate and provide major services, which the federal and regional executive organs had been giving. The Agency will also go through different executive organs on the behalf of investors.

The services that the Agency will provide by delegation include issuance of construction permits, notary services, issuance of work permits to expatriate employees, and issuance of business licences.

Government organs, including the Ministry of Urban Development & Construction (MoUDC), the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA), and the Ministry of Trade (MoT) will delegate powers to the Agency

Fitsum, who is also a board member of Shebele Transport S.C, Addis International Bank S.C.(AdIB) and Addis Credit & Saving Institution (ACSI), represents the Addis Abeba City Administration. In addition, he heads the committee responsible for collecting money for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Addis Abeba.

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