17 April 2018

Ethiopia: Govt, Private Sector Should Work Collaboratively to Stimulate the Economy, Maintain Growth Momentum - PM Abiy

Government and the private sector should work collaboratively to alleviate any problems in the private business environment and maintain the continuity of growth registered over the past years, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.

In a consultative discussion he held with domestic and foreign investors yesterday, the Premier pointed out that "the prevailing challenges in the private sector should not be shouldered only to the government but we need to join hands to overcome them and move forward."

"The current shortage of foreign currency may continue to be a challenge over the coming 15-20 years," he said, and appealed to the business community to retrieve the money they have deposited in foreign countries and encourage the flow of remittance.

Abiy added that the government will firmly work to address the low project management skills, enhance productivity and market competitiveness of agricultural products in the years to come.

Speaking on the impediments of the financial and loan provision from banks, the Premier said "the two government owned banks will remain to intervene in special areas of development mainly due to limited sources."

Some 20 years back, government had been the sole exporter of coffee but now the participation of the private sector in the export of coffee is being encouraged and 15 private banks are already engaged in supporting the export sector, and added that "government intervention is limited in selected areas and will gradually phase out from the sector."

"Corruption has concurrently grown along with the development of the infrastructure sector over the past years," he noted, adding that "business persons should stand alongside the government in combating corruptors."

In its extended restructuring and evaluation measures, the government has admitted the prevalence of fraud and tax evasion, the Prime Minister said and added "we must not deny the fact that some if not all business persons have been dishonest in paying their income taxes."

Even though special privileges are needed to encourage domestic investors, foreign investors should also be provided with all the necessary incentives for they will facilitate the economic growth, create global market access, reduce unemployment and set the platform for the transfer of technology, he noted.

Instead of detesting the inflow of foreign investment you must move on to create joint-venture companies by cooperating with them, he added.

Furthermore, he urged the business community to carry out the responsibility of building national image considering themselves as ambassadors despite any differences they may have against the ruling party.

Mentioning government had not been able to fully empower women and utilize the uninterrupted potential they posses, Abiy said "soon the government will disclose new schemes to empower women and unleash their untapped potential."

According to Abiy, consultative forums about the financial and provision of land administration stumbling block of the private sector will be held with respective governmental bodies in the weeks to come.

Comprehensive works and concerted efforts will be exerted to maintain justice for citizens, scale up agricultural products by irrigating semi-arid areas, and ensure quality of education.

For this to happen, the Premier stated that structural reforms will be undertaken in the coming weeks in which priority will be given to agriculture, education and justice sectors.

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