New economic opportunities of the post-2018 era


Evidently scholars agreed that Ethiopia is on a rapid reform activity since the coming of the reformist leader Prime Minister Abiy Ahimed (Ph.D.) to power. Economic reform is among the prior sectors that the current government has given due emphasis for it.

Despite different ups and downs from the political, social and economic sectors in the country, the economic reform that has taken place has brought a glimpse of hope to the nation.

The regime led by TPLF for the past 27 years had formulated every policy just to serve the interest of the party officials, their elites and politically affiliated business firms.

Every public enterprise was led by inefficient politically appointed yes persons or apparatchiks. Besides, the import and export business was also controlled by few individuals favored by the specific political group, said Atlaw Alemu (PHD) an economist.

Approaching by The Ethiopian Herald, he further pointed out that the prevailed ethnic politics in the country was a constraint factor for the economic growth. Appreciating the current fair distribution of power for every state and political members as well, he denounced the previous government’s power distribution in recalling that the majority of authorities was fully handed for one ethnic group only.

He also illustrates that mismanagement of public enterprises such as the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation and METEC can be the cause for the downfall of Ethiopia’s economy. As to him, the country has lost Billions of birr from these companies due to inept leadership. Moreover, billions of Dollars were flown illegally by the TPLF members and their elites.

Therefore, the current government has done a lot to alter this mess. Accordingly, visible results have been registered since the post-2018 era, he noted.

Saring Atilaw’s view, economist Shiferaw Adilu said that the current government was forced to introduce an economic reform program to reverse the situation. As to him, before the emergence of the new government, the economy of Ethiopia was mismanaged adding that the claim that the nation was registering two digits economic growths annually was extremely exaggerated.

As part of the reform, the government has prepared its own ambitious Homegrown Economic Reform Plan tailored to the country’s needs and preferences. Coupled with, the government also prepared the ten years development plan and made other policy improvements in the financial sector, he added.

As a result, the government to some extent enabled the macroeconomy to stabilize. As compared to other African countries experiences, the government of Ethiopia is working exhaustively in managing the inflation.

Cognizant of the fact that unemployment is a serious problem for nation’s economic growth; the government is also creating many jobs for youths and other unemployed societies. Acknowledging the government’s commitment in reducing unemployment, he mentioned that the political conflicts flared up here and there in the past could aggravate the unemployment rate.

A document from the office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia’s official website, the objectives of the economic reform is reducing bureaucratic hurdles in ease of doing business, enhancing entrepreneurship and news start up, formalizing business as well as raising the competitiveness of local firms.

Attracting and retaining investment, creating more job opportunities, working vigorously for the prevalence of transparency and service delivery coupled with promoting efficient tax administration including the utilization of Information are also among the objectives, the document asserted.

Appreciating the government steps to reform the economy, Shiferaw, commented that the approach is still in a fragmented manner which will bring its own drawback to unleash the nation potential. Hence, to bring long lasting solution at the macro- economic level, planning and implementing new road map is vital, he recommended.

The privatization of Ethio- telecom and Sugar Corporation is undergoing in slow pace but the startup is welcoming. In fact as mentioned, the government pre occupation in containing insurgencies forced to pay less attention to the economic front. This is parts of the economic reform made by the current government, he added.

Similarly speaking, Zelalem Teklu (PHD) an economist said that the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will also give an impetus to the ongoing economic growth for Ethiopia specifically and the neighboring countries as well. He also stated that the Dam is a backbone to Ethiopia’s economy and its neighbors

As to him, during the beginning of the change things were going rapidly in high motivation. But the Junta jointly with some external forces has abruptly begun to stumble the construction through flaring up different ethnic conflicts in various parts of the country.

However, though the situation was inconvenient, the measures that have been taken under the economic reform are bringing better results. The reform could attract foreign investors to the country which is of paramount importance for increasing foreign exchange, he explained.

The economic reform has important and valid objectives particularly to address various problems related with the macro economy and among others to mitigate unemployment, inflation and scarcity of hard currency.

Adding to the point he mentioned that the government should scale up its effort in increasing the nation’s economy. With regard to privatization, Tekilu explained that privatizing the Ethiopian Airline is not a possible option currently as the organization by itself is showing its efficiency and competency to international aviation.

Mentioning that bringing foreign companies to increase the economic capacity of the country, he said that the partial privatization of Ethio-telecom will also make the organization to be more competent.

The endeavor enables the nation to attract and obtain more foreign currency adding that the announcement of the bid winning companies also is encouraging. As to Teklu, privatizing public owned companies is also part of the economic reform taken by the Abiy’s Admnistration.

While responding to the questions raised by the Member of Parliament recently, the Premier said that the main focus of the economic reform is to reduce the debt burden, to complete the ongoing projects and to increase revenue.

However the nation is facing obstacles like; locusts, sporadic conflicts parallel with the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the above challenges, Ethiopia’s economy has grown by 6.1 percent, he added.

All in all the post-2018 era has brought enormous economic opportunities for the country. As a result, Ethiopia is registering strong social and economic development in recent years. Therefore if all stakeholders and every Ethiopian work hand in glove with the government, it will be possible to materialize Ethiopia’s vision of becoming a middle income economy.

The Ethiopian Herald April 2/2021

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