15 June 2019

Ethiopia: Economic Reform Targets Five Key Areas

Photo: Ethio Telecom
Ethio Telecom.
opinion

The recent economic reform agenda led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's (PhD) administration is focused on addressing five key areas, The Reporter has learnt.

This was disclosed at the CEO Breakfast Forum held at Sheraton Addis on June12, 2019, organized by Precise Consult - a local consulting firm - chaired by Henok Assefa.

Dagmawit Moges, Minister of Transport; Eyob Tekalegn (PhD), state Minister of Finance; Abebeb Abebayehu, commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission; were the panelists.

The five target areas include: addressing inflationary build-up, external debt distress, improving credit to the private sector as well as creating jobs.

This economic reform agenda will help us put the economy in a sustainable path, Mamo Mehiretu, senior advisor to the Prime Minister, told the audience.

Speaking at the forum, Eyob has elaborated on the upcoming economic reform. He indicated that the government has already identified six priority areas such as power, sugar, logistic, as well as railway when it comes to privatization.

But for this year, we will focus on telecom and sugar, said Eyob. In this regard, we are looking into a full-fledged privatization of sugar projects or including joint venture arrangements. As far as the telecom sector is concerned, he indicated that the government will soon open-up the sector.

"Probably by this time next year, some of you might use different SIM cards," Eyob said without going into details. In the coming few weeks, we will tell the whole world about the kind of market structure we envision.

Regarding the Telecom sector, the Prime Minister will be announcing the market structure. In this regard, on Thursday, the Parliament has passed a bill which helps the government pursue its plan to liberalize the sector.

During the forum, a number of questions from the audience were raised. Some, for instance, asked the panelists, if the government has actually shifted its ideological lining from developmental state.

"There is this problem of trying to look at everything from an ideological standpoint," said Eyob. He indicated that the administration is following both a pragmatic and practical approach.

Moreover, it was indicated that the government will soon introduce a ten year economic plan.

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