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UAE investors eye Jimma Industrial Park complete takeover

UAE investors eye Jimma Industrial Park complete takeover

Investment incentives to be amended

The Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) has made an announcement that individual investors are looking to buy the whole manufacturing sheds of an industrial park on lease terms.

During a press conference held on Tuesday, Belachew Mekuria (PhD), commissioner of EIC told reporters that UAE investors have requested the government to buy the whole of Jimma Industrial Park which is under construction.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) joined by Emirati investors visited the site of Jimma Industrial Park. According to Belachew, the Park has reached 70 percent completion. Stretched on 75 hectares of land, it constitutes of nine manufacturing sheds.

Currently, there are 11 more parks in the making. By the year 2025, 30 more parks will be constructed aiming to create 200,000 annual jobs and help contribute 25 percent of shares to the GDP from the manufacturing subsector.

Meanwhile a major investment package revision is underway including the amendments of the existing investment laws and regulations.

Belachew said that the Ethiopian investment proclamation which provides investment incentives in a “blanket” framework is the main target of the amendment. “The “blanket” five or ten year tax exemption, duty free privileges to import machineries and equipment and some other provisions will be amended to incorporate performance and result oriented outcomes,” said Belachew. The new amendment is set to take effect as of the current fiscal year.

In addition to that, EIC will launch studies related to electric power generation and distribution to determine the nature and involvement of Independent Power Producers (IPP). The commissioner also mentioned the tasks of studying the potentials of logistics, printing and ICT sectors so that they become a fully-fledged industry.

Teka Gebreyesus, deputy commissioner of EIC said that incentive packages are now seriously monitored and within just 50 days of request for duty free importations of reinforcement bars have been rejected as found being flawed. According to Teka, the reinforcement bars were meant for star-rated hotel constructions and some of the projects were found to be contentious for a five star hotel to operate in a verily remote town hosting a few dwellers. 

Belahew and his team gave accounts of the FDI inflow to Ethiopia. The concluded budget year saw an inflow of USD 3.75 billion against the targeted inflow of USD 4.6 billion. However, the political unrest that has engulfed the country together with acute hard currency shortages and red tape, previous year’s achievements fall just short of the targets. Despite that, for the current fiscal year, USD five billion is the target set for FDI inflows. In the 2009 Ethiopian fiscal year, Ethiopia amassed USD 4.1 billion amid one of the worst political turmoil in the country coupled with the uncertainties caused by the resignation of PM Hailmariam Dessalegn.

The executives of EIC stated about their activities for the new budget year. Belachew detailed that a new academy of civil service cadres is in considerations. Competent and passionate young cadre of civil servants will be requited and trained for a year on issues of industrial and investment policies of the government. Last year, a group of 15 young professionals have received trainings and this year 20 more are expected to take tailor-made trainings at the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Academy until the new curriculum and training facilities EIC is propelling to come to life.  

Belachew was one of the expats recruited recently and now is one of the capable executives the government leans on to run pivotal offices. It is to be recalled that PM Abiy has appointed former commissioner Fistum Argea as his chief of staff. Then deputy commissioner Abebe Abebayehu also joined the PM for another job. Hence, two new recruits from the Ministry of Science and Technology have been taken up to assume to the posts of deputies within the EIC and joined Belachew’s leadership.