A new public entity dubbed ‘manufacturing industries development institute’ envisages installing Research and Development (R&D) centers for six sectors including metal, textile, leather, chemical, electronics and agroindustry. The centers, which will have state of the art research testing and prototype production facilities will be established near places where the industries exist in large numbers.
“The main objective of the centers is to turn research papers conducted by universities into prototype products and create joint venture investment arrangement between universities and private sector, for mass production. We will have R&D centers wherever there are manufacturing industries, which will serve as simulators for real production,” said Paulos Berga, advisor to the Minister at the Ministry of industry.
The R&D centers and the new institute will operate independent from government budget and subsidies, generating revenues from testing prototype designs for industries, lab services, consulting and engaging international and regional research bids.
The new institute swallowed six existing institutes including Metal Industries Development Institute, Textile Industry Development Institute, Leather Industry Development Institute, Chemical and Construction Inputs Industry Development Institute and Meat and Dairy institute.
Though established over the decade tailored to Ethiopia’s industrialization policies, these institutes have been deemed futile under the new cabinet of PM Abiy. Under the new approach, these old institutes will turn into research wings in their respective sectors, under the umbrella of the new institute.
“The existing institutes could not solve problems in the manufacturing industries. First, the directors are political appointees. Secondly, they could not turn research papers shelved in universities to reconfigure industrial productivity,” added Paulos.
Nonetheless, officials of the old institutes are currently in a limbo as some of their mandates are given to ministers other than the ministry of industry.
“Our mandate is currently split. We used to oversee iron ore exploration, mining and scrap mobilization as well as metal and electronics production. But now, the raw material mobilization mandate is given to the Ministry of mines while the metal production part is has been given to the Ministry of trade. We are waiting until the new institute commences,” said Tilahun Abay, planning director for the now replenishing Metal Industry Development Institute.
The establishment proclamation for the Manufacturing Industries Development Institute is expected to be ratified by the council of Ministers in two months.