Saturday, July 13, 2024
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How did Zirintusa, Konate and Kennedy go home?


Ugandan international Boban Zirintusa’s parting with Ethiopia Bunna without even a single game to the club is something that took everyone by sheer surprise. Tenth in the table with 27 points Sidama Bunna also parted ways with two foreign players.
The involvement of French head coach Didier Gomes all through the transfer saga starting from the scouting makes Zirintusa’s departure different. The 26 year old former Polokwane City mid fielder joined Ethiopia Bunna at the start of the league’s second round fixtures yet never touched the field donning the Brown Shirt and months after having a good time in Ethiopia he went back home for good. What a blessing could have been for an Ethiopian upcoming player to have that chance of months of trial under a French trainer. Zirintusa flew home with hundred thousand if not millions in his pocket while title hungry Ethiopia Bunna are dwelling sixth in the table with the crown far from sight. What a waste?
Sidama Bunna also kicked-out two foreign players for lack of competency and good sportsmanship. Among the highest paid players in the league Ben Mamadu Konate of Equatorial Guinea and team mate Ghanaian Kennedy Asia joined the team since the start of the new season yet hardly were in service until their departure in mutual consent. Kennedy appeared a starter in only two matches and in some games at the bench while Konate got chances early in the season but was side lined for months due to injury and decline of performance.
Despite a number of warnings given to both players they failed to respond thus newly appointed head coach Zeray Mulu showed them the way out. “I am sure it will give us a big lesson for the future and it is painful to deny a chance to young talent,” Zeray remarked. Though Sidama Bunna is a team under the mayor’s office that spends a lot of tax-payers’ money neither the signing bonus nor monthly salary is concealed to the public. This raises the following questions: Did they give back the money they collected? Is there any article clearly defining the parting of two parties? How come they simply shook hands and went home despite being under contract? These are miseries not only in two or three sides but thanks to the Federation a routine among all teams in Ethiopian Football.

Yemsirach Getachew

Name: Yemsirach Getachew

Education: High School Diploma

Company name: Mikil Garden

Title: Founder and manager

Founded in: 2017

What it does: Sells cactus flowers and seeds

HQ: Morning Star Mall, Bole

Number of employees:  1

Startup Capital:     150,000   birr

Current capital:  Growing

Reason for starting the business: Passion

Biggest perk of ownership: Helps me to be successful

Biggest strength: Commitment

Biggest challenge: Finding a shop

Plan: To expand to other markets

First career: Trader

Most interested in meeting:  No one

Most admired person: Nebiyu Nigusse (My husband)

Stress reducer: Spending time in green areas

Favorite past-time: Working

Favorite book: Yeteqolefebet- qulf by Dr Mihret Debebe

Favorite destination: China

Favorite automobile: Toyota Executive

The future of plastic business

Over the past few weeks we have seen many news items, locally and internationally, about plastic and the pollution it creates in the local and global environment. Becoming aware of the damages some plastic products cause, especially the use and throw items like plastic bags, governments around the world are putting legislation in place to ban the production and use of a number of plastic items. This is so the case in Rwanda already for some years now and Kenya followed suit eight months ago. Production and use of plastic bags and other use and throw plastic items became illegal and environmental law enforcers follow up on compliance by the private sector and the public. Producing or using any of the banned items will result in harsh punishment, including financial fines and jail sentences. The strong measures seem to be paying off as the environment indeed begins to show signs of less plastic pollution and related damages;
so far so good. However, the introduction of such new legislation from one day to the other for example in Kenya, did not allow business owners and the public much time to adjust to the new situation and find alternatives. As a result, some businesses ended up in deep trouble, while the public had to find new ways to carry home fresh meat or fish without spoiling other grocery items or handbags.
I have observed that new legislation is often introduced overnight without considering the immediate and indirect consequences and without allowing for a grace period for example to allow the market to adjust to the new situation. A legal business may thus end up bankrupt in a matter of days. Sometimes even, new legislation is introduced, entering into force retrospectively, which is hardly fair to those affected by it.
Not that I am aware of the development of legislation banning certain plastic items in Ethiopia, looking at the enormous pollution by plastic bags and bottles in this country, it would not surprise me if similar measures will be taken in this country soon. In other words, companies producing plastic items, better be aware and anticipate a major change in their sector and take pro-active measures to reduce the risks they may face.
From this perspective, I’d like us to look once again into the so called Sigmoid or S-curve, which is sometimes used to represent the seemingly natural way how things develop in business. The curve is sometimes referred to as a learning curve: we learn through trial and error, develop confidence and achieve mastery. It looks like this:

But unless we continue to renew ourselves, performance begins to drop off. In terms of organizational effectiveness, management could study where they are on the curve and see when decline will begin to take place. This is the time management will then try and turn things around.
The solution to the problem is often found in ‘work harder’. But perhaps working harder is not the right answer and instead we may need to work smarter. In fact, we should not wait for the curve to begin sliding down and until crisis occurs before beginning to work on renewal. The secret of constant growth is to start a new Sigmoid Curve before the first one peters out. The figure below shows how this might look.

While we normally concentrate on what we are doing today, the fact that our environment and the conditions we work in are constantly changing, requires us to pay attention not only to improving our present operations but also to designing for the future. In other words, we must have two strategies operating at once. Working on and learning from the two curves simultaneously means that we must allow the past and the future to coexist in the present. Few business owners have the luxury of being able to shut down their business while they transform it, so they are forced to put up with the turbulence and turmoil characteristic of life between the curves. It will take time for the second curve to become established and the first curve to wane. As a consequence, both curves need to coexist in the same time and space. This is like rewiring a house, while leaving the electricity on. There is some danger but if you want electricity throughout the changeover period, you have little choice.
Living between these curves presents leaders with an interesting set of challenges like:
Keeping the first curve alive long enough for the second curve to firmly establish itself.
Develop the perspective and discipline necessary to allow funds to be siphoned away from the first curve to be made available to develop the second curve.
Be able to manage the confusion and tension that results from having both curves operating at the same time.
Now, the road to the future begins by improving that which already exists or making the company as good as it can possibly be at servicing its present customers in the present market. Think about answering the following sets of questions:
The customer:
Who are the present customers and why do they buy from us instead of your competitors?
Are the needs of the customers changing and if so what is driving those changes?
How can we use those changes to our advantage?
The competition:
Who are our present competitors and why do customers choose them over us?
Are the rules of engagement changing and if so what is driving those changes?
How can we use those changes to our advantage?
The company:
If our present customers were to redesign our company, what would they turn it into?
How can we use the latest technological advances to our advantage?
How can we strengthen our relationships with our key customers, suppliers and business partners?
In studying these questions and trying to make sense of the answers we in fact developing a new vision for the future and prepare the company for how it can get there.

Ton Haverkort
From: “Mission Possible” by Ken Blanchard and Terry Waghorn.

Finance and risk in construction

The Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers (EACE) is organizing a workshop dubbed ‘The role of banks and insurance companies for sustainable development of the construction industry in Ethiopia’ focusing on the relationship between the construction and financial sectors.
Capital talked to Eng. Tesfaye Workineh, President of EACE and Managing Director of United Consulting Engineers Plc (UNICONE) about their upcoming event which will be held next Saturday at the UNECA, and what they expect from the workshop. Excerpts;


Capital: When did the Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers (EACE) begin and what were the reasons for its founding and its vision?

Eng. TesfayeWorkineh: The Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers (EACE) was established in 1960 with the vision of becoming a world class professional association that serves civil engineering and related professionals including the general public. Our mission is to promote the advancement of civil engineering through continuous professional development, scientific research and disseminating knowledge and skills. Our organization values professionalism accountability, collaboration, diversity and inclusiveness as well as transparency and social responsibility. We are working to make a contribution to Ethiopia’s efforts in developing the civil engineering profession so that it can attain a global standard of excellence. One way we do this is to cultivate and certify civil engineers.

Capital: What have been the noteworthy milestones in the development of the Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers (EACE)?

Eng. Tesfaye: We’ve held scientific and technical workshops, symposia, seminars and produced publications such as journals, magazines and newsletters to raise insight in the profession. We have also worked with the government to develop more professional engineers.
To raise awareness, for instance, our association organized a forum for Engineering professionals and held consultation and discussions about problems in the construction industry.

Capital: What is the main purpose of the upcoming workshop?

Eng. Tesfaye: The theme of the workshop as you know is ‘The Role of Banks and Insurance Companies in the Construction Industry for Sustainable Development’.
It will look at the impact of banks and insurance companies in the many factors that go into a construction project. This includes employers, investors, consultants and contractors who develop materials, equipment and human resources. It also involves finance, managing risk and facility management.

The contractor and consultant of a project are responsible for obtaining the financing, which can be quite large. So financial institutions play a huge role in construction, in fact obtaining financing is often one of the most difficult tasks contractors face.
The construction industry is subject to more risk and uncertainty than many other industries. The development of a construction project from inception to completion takes a long time and involves many phases. It brings workers with different skills and interests together and involves the use of large and diverse sets of equipment. All of these complex requirements have to be handled with proper co-ordination to provide a smooth flow of activities. It is necessary to identify and analyze the risks that may appear during the execution of the project. And insurance is one means of transferring risks associated with such projects.
So this workshop will help people improve their knowledge of construction insurance, help people learn about insurance policies, and bank bonds. People will be able to compare and contrast different policies and stakeholders will also come together to discuss how to reduce risk in construction projects.

Capital: What should be the role of banks and insurance firms in supporting the construction sector?

Eng. Tesfaye: No construction project can be successful unless an appropriate financial option is selected and a comprehensive project management process is implemented. Banks and insurance companies help finance equipment, provide loans for the construction, help transfer risk and give guarantee bonds to the project.
Capital: Usually banks and insurance firms face problems with construction companies in regards to financial issues mostly with loan repayments; what are your thoughts about that?
Eng. Tesfaye: In fact it is very difficult to generalize the problem. Construction companies strive to fulfill their obligation but due to unforeseen reasons including misuse, mismanagement or problems in the project planning itself, situations occur where they are unable to fulfill their dues.

Capital: Construction companies are said to be spending the money they take as a loan from banks and projects will fail to be delivered, what is your opinion on this?

Eng. Tesfaye: As I said earlier let us not generalize and think this has happened to most of the companies. But if there is not good planning on the use of advances and loans then yes the projects suffer and fail to be delivered. If parts of loans from banks are diverted to other purposes, projects suffer. The effect will be more devastating if the loan is used for other expenses where the extent of return is not much. As a result, loans will fail to serve the intended purposes and ultimately projects suffer due to cash starvations. In order to avoid or minimize such incident a proper risk assessment and the points I mentioned earlier should be taken into account.

Capital: Insurance firms usually delay claim payments for construction companies, what is your experience?

Eng. Tesfaye: Well, the purpose of this workshop is to create awareness and to assess this question and issues around it and learn more.

Capital: Chinese construction firms are flooding the market, they are on time and quality is also their thing many observers say. However local companies lack the proper knowledge and management skills, how can this issue be addressed?

Eng. Tesfaye: Chinese companies are increasing both in number and the amount of projects they are handling. Likewise, the construction industry is hosting a large number of Chinese and local companies.
Still, when we look at overall performances, many projects in Ethiopia suffer from delays. Quality as well has not excelled as expected. In relative terms, the Chinese companies are in a better position to manage construction projects. Construction by its nature is capital intensive. And the local companies are constrained while the Chinese companies are well financed and thus have more options. This is one reason why quality may not have gone up as expected within the construction industry. The Chinese companies can import machines and spare parts as long as they have foreign accounts whereas the local companies need to wait for a Letter of Credit queue even for their spare parts, and in effect, delays are encountered on projects.
Furthermore, the Chinese companies use technologies to ease construction. On the other hand, implementation of advanced construction management techniques is yet to be exercised with local companies to outweigh competition with the Chinese contractors.