Monday, June 17, 2024
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Proposal to establish independent Chamber of Industry advances, separate from Chamber of Commerce

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By our staff reporter

A proposal has been submitted to the Council of Ministers (CoM) that would allow the industry sector to establish an independent lobby group. As part of its efforts to revise controversial statutes, the present administration has focused on Proclamation No. 341/2003, which pertains to the Sectorial Association and Chamber of Commerce. Over the past few years, several draft proclamations have been written and presented to stakeholders for discussion, aiming to restructure the creation of associations using a new framework. However, most of these drafts were unable to progress until the latest one was approved by the Ministry of Justice and forwarded to the Council of Ministers.

According to sources, previous draft proclamations encompassed both the industry and commerce sectors. Another draft legislation was also introduced to reorganize the lobby group under commerce, but it failed to gain consensus among interested parties. On the contrary, a proclamation to establish a separate Chamber of Industry has now reached the ratification stage, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Industry. One of the issues raised about the current law is that the industrial sector lacks sufficient representation within the association.

Opponents argue that creating a separate lobby group would be detrimental to the interests of the business community, as the industry sector is already associated with commerce, either directly or indirectly. They argue that this is consistent with the experiences of other nations, stating that if the industry sector is formed separately, advocacy efforts and influence would be fragmented, resulting in decreased revenue and a loss of unified voice.

However, proponents of establishing a Chamber of Industry assert that an independent association would vigorously defend the interests of the industry and effectively advocate for its issues with relevant bodies. They argue that since the industry is of paramount importance to the nation, it requires a strong, autonomous association that can solely focus on its unique challenges.

Furthermore, it has been reported that a draft proclamation to establish a Chamber of Commerce has also been presented, with the industry sector included in the text. However, sources indicate that the Ministry of Justice has returned the draft proclamation, prepared by the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration, requesting the exclusion of the industry part. Experts suggest that the proposed commerce proclamation would significantly impact the activities of municipal chambers, particularly the Addis Ababa Chamber, and grant more power to the national chamber. Additionally, the impending draft proclamation on commerce would allow large businesses employing numerous individuals and operating in multiple regions to directly join the Ethiopian Chamber, including major members like banks affiliated with the Addis Ababa Chamber.

It is anticipated that the Council of Ministers will soon approve the draft proclamation to establish the Chamber of Industry, marking a new development, and subsequently send it to parliament for approval.

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