Tuesday, January 24, 2023
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BusinessOver a thousand workers in Mekelle Industrial Park still absent

Over a thousand workers in Mekelle Industrial Park still absent

Despite the opening of five factories inside Mekelle Industrial Park, more than a thousand of their employees did not get back to work. While there is no guarantee whether or not the employees would get back to work soon, the factories are under preparation to begin production at pre-conflict levels.

The Industrial park Development Corporation (IPDC) of Ethiopia also affirmed on Thursday that thousands of employees are absent in Mekelle industrial park even though firms have resumed their operation.

Speaking to The Reporter, CEO of the Corporation, Sandokan Debebe said along with the severe impacts of COVID-19, the government ‘law enforcement operation’ has forced companies to close their businesses and employees have left their jobs fearing for their security.

“Of over 2,000 employees of the factories inside the park, only 700 of them have returned to their workplace,” he told The Reporter.

Majority of the firms engaged in the garment industry have been highly affected by insecurity and infrastructure blackout inside the industrial park for the last four months.

General Manager of a factory inside the park, speaking to The Reporter on condition of anonymity, explained the severe impact of unpredictable security situations in the region on their productivity and operations. Especially the state of emergency imposed in the region has severely affected their prospects of regaining their employees, according to the General Manager.

“We have only managed to bring back only 35 percent of our employees who have been working at the factory prior to the federal government’s law enforcement operation,” he remarked.

Ethiopia has been losing over USD 20 million in export revenues because of the fighting in the region, which has also resulted in a loss of two billion Birr in tax revenues just two months after the conflict started.

KPR Exports Plc, SCM Garment Knit Tex, Laurence Footwear Manufacturer and Strathmore Apparel manufacturing are among the factories working inside Mekelle Industrial Park, which brings in USD 5.4 million in export revenues annually.

Ethiopia currently has ten active industrial parks (five, government and five private) with annual export of USD 165 million in the 2019/20 financial year. Factories inside the parks account only for five percent of the country’s export proceeds. ​​​​​​

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