Investors wary of instability pass in Oromia

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The Oromia State Region is the hub for Ethiopian investors but in the last nine months there have been few licenses issued to investors.
Oromia provided 2,668 hectares of land to rural investments during the previous fiscal year. This year, however they have only given 259 hectares.
Last year 171 plots of land were given to agro processing and service investments in rural areas, however over the last nine months only 22 plots of land have been given out; a dramatic decrease.
The urban investments which are mostly projected to be along the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Adama, Bishoftu, Dukem, Jimma, Sebaeta, Gelan, Bureau, Ambo, and Welega are also experiencing a big slump.
In addition to the hard currency shortage, some of the manufacturing and hotel projects are also progressing poorly.
In these areas, only 30 plots of land are in the process of being used for investment and ten plots of land were given to the government’s power, electricity, water and telecom service providers through the direct decision of Lemma Megerssa, who was President of Oromia Region at the time.
During the last fiscal year the region approved 167 investment projects worth 5.37 billion birr. Over 81 percent were in agriculture and agro-processing.
An expert who requested anonymity told Capital that the on and off political instability is affecting the investment.
“We have not seen burning factories like a year ago, but the displacement of people, the clashes, the protests occurring throughout the country are affecting the investment inflow. The instability takes the government’s attention and like any other region, the Oromia Region’s Cabinet has been busying itself stabilizing the regions.’’
“Insecurity discourages business investment, its scares people. This is because it accelerates the cost of doing business either through direct loss of goods and properties or the cost of taking precautions against business risks and uncertainty. These costs could have a negative impact on business development and progress” the expert added.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who was asked about the growing concern of investors at a recent press conference stated that investors should work harmoniously with local communities.
So far, there are over 790 investment projects in the region with a capital of 3.5 billion Br. These projects provide employment opportunity for 52,000 employees. Additionally, the region accounts for 52 percent of the crop production, 45 percent of the area is cropland and 44 percent of the total livestock population in Oromia.
Last Capital reported that Adama youth are blocking containers filled with high-tech apparel machines and equipment, located inside the Adama Industrial Park. They are asking for a hefty sum of money before they are willing to leave. The trucks were blocked for over a week.
Youngsters are lying under the truck blocking the movement, just waiting for money. They want to be paid per container and even per single machines.
Antex Group president Quian Anuha says, they repeatedly reported the problem to government agencies with no avail. The manager said that he told Abebe Abebayehu, who runs the Ethiopian Investment commission, Lelise Neme, CEO of Industrial Park Development, the Major of Adama and Adama police station but no one responded.