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House mulls over draft loan agreements worth over USD 1 bln

The House of People’s Representatives (HPR) has held  its first hand reviews on six draft loan bills, worth a combined amount of over USD 1 billion which the Ethiopian government has signed with various foreign lenders and multilateral organizations.

On Thursday, lawmakers held the first session of the final parliamentary year of its fifth term, deliberating on 14 agendas, of which 12 were draft bills tabled for endorsements.

Of the 12 draft bills presented before MPs, six are draft bills of loan agreements that were signed between the Ethiopian government and foreign financial institutions as well as EXIM Bank. The loan is intended for various infrastructure and water development projects.

Among the draft bills presented before the House by Mesfin Chernet, Deputy Government whip is the USD 300 million concessional loan agreement signed between Ethiopia and the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank.

According to the Deputy Whip, this concessional loan is intended to finance Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Programs, to be implemented across the country. After a short debate on the draft bill, MPs have referred it to the Revenues, Budget and Finance Standing Committee for further revisions.

Likewise, lawmakers have also held debates on loan agreements worth USD 280 million – said to have been signed between Ethiopia and the International Development Association for Lowland Resilience Livelihood Project –set to be implemented in six regional states. According to the agreement, the loan has an additional USD 70 million, to be provided by the government.

Moreover, the soft loan agreement between Ethiopia and Korea Export-Import Bank, which amounts to USD 170 million, was also presented before the House and later was referred to the same standing committee. It was further disclosed that the loan will be used for the extension of the national electric grid power transmission projects.

In addition, for rural development and enhancement of product and productivity, a soft loan agreement entered with Korea Export-Import Bank amounting to USD 94 million, has also been referred to further revisions. Similarly, a EUR 85 million loan and 15 million aid agreements, entered between Ethiopia and the French Development Agency (AFD) to support the economic reforms, was referred to the relevant committee.

Furthermore, the agreement between Ethiopia and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, worth USD 44 million, in addition to the country’s contribution of USD 22.2 million, was also referred. The fund will be utilized for the Dilla-Haro Wachu road project in Southern part of Ethiopia.

Lawmakers have looked into other draft bills tabled before the House and have referred them to the respective standing committees for further scrutiny.