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Gov’t initiates modalities to privatize Sugar projects
from left: Weyu Robba, Eyob Tekalign (PhD) brefing the press about the planned privatization of sugar industry

Gov’t initiates modalities to privatize Sugar projects

The Ministry of Finance has released initial documentation for the purpose of inviting local and international investors to express their interests in relation to the privatization of scores of sugar factories, both already commissioned and still under construction, The Reporter has learnt.

Eyob Telakign (PhD), State Minister of Finance, told the press on Friday that both the Ministry and the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation have conducted a series of asset valuations and due diligence; and it is in the process of finalizing the task. Hence, the Request for Information (RFI) has been issued, Eyob said.

According to Eyob, the RFI encompasses some 15 preliminary requests for potential investors. However, the questions or requests are open-ended and provides additional room for investors to provide further information they might have interest in. Eyob said that, “The purpose of the RFI is solely for the expression of interest and information not necessarily related to transactions.”

From the provided information, the government would have the idea on how many investors prefer to buy the whole assets of the Corporation, or whether their interest is to partake in a partial Joint Venture with the government, or some investors might request to have contract agreement modalities for investment. According to Eyob, all options are on the table and the government will consider plausible interests of any kind.

The RFI will be released on Monday so that local and foreign firms could access it from the ministry’s website until April 28, 2019. “All comments and inquiries will be entertained,” Eyob said. The deadline for the whole process is May 24, 2019.

The Ethiopian Sugar Corporation was under a spotlight following maladministration of funds allocated for the development of the ill-fated projects. It is to be recalled that few years ago, officials of the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation has told parliamentarian that some 77 billion birr invested on the then on-going sugar projects across the country has shown sketchy financial performance and the projects missed their completion deadline. In relation to this, some months back, top officials of the Metal and Engineering Corporation (MetEC) were jailed partly in relations to issues linked with the severely delayed sugar projects. 

According to Weyu Robba, CEO of the Corporation, Beles Sugar Factory, Omo I, VI and Wolqait Sugar Factories are some of the delayed projects which the Corporation is determined to redirect.

“A Chinese contractor has been assigned to finalize the construction of Beles Sugar plant and has agreed to deliver the project within eight months,” the CEO said. In addition, foreign consultants have been hired to conduct feasibility, design and specification studies for the ongoing projects.