Unrest closes Hawassa Industrial-Park


Following threats to declare a new region by the Sidama ethnic group, business was not going on as usual in Hawassa and other surrounding towns including Ethiopia’s flagship Hawassa Industrial Park where employees were absent for days, Capital learned.
As youth and activists of the Sidama ethnic group announced they would declare independent regional states on the 18th of July, the park stopped operating for three consecutive days starting from Thursday July 18.
There was a sign when the majority of the employees at the industrial park wore a t-Shirt with the flag of the new region on July 17.
In a country like Ethiopia where employment is above 10 million, and there is a huge demand for job opportunities, it is unprofessional to call a demonstration on working days, the Prime Minister said. He used the example of neighboring Kenya’s working discipline as exemplary pointing out that they call any strike or demonstration over the weekend.
When some political cases arise in the city, it will interrupt the investment climate. The odd thing is, workers asked to be paid for the days they did not show up. Now companies will be in trouble with their customers for late deliveries. This has a domino effect, the Prime Minister pointed out.
He criticized the bad habit of Ethiopian employees accustomed to taking a salary for absent days. Their entitlement is unethical and should be corrected, said the Prime Minister.
The government spent a huge amount of money to build the park, not only that, other investments like the toll roads to connect to the park and the money spent on supplying power will be wasted if people don’t change their behavior, the Prime Minister said.
Ethiopia is investing billions of dollars to open a total of 30 industrial parks by 2025 with the vision to become Africa’s manufacturing hub and create more jobs for the youth and earn hard currency.
As Capital confirmed, one of the operators, things went back to the normal conditions after Tuesday this week where 80 percent of the employees are back on track.
“Being an area of conducive investment climate is essential for employment opportunities and the communities should protect the investment if they need jobs for their youth,” PM Abiy added.
Hawassa Industrial Park is the largest government industrial park, built at a cost of 250 million USD in just nine months by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and presently hosts more than fifty manufacturing companies that employs 25,000 workers.