Kinfe Dagnew (B. Gen.) was busy last week conducting a series…

Kinfe Dagnew (B. Gen.) was busy last week conducting a series of meetings with members of the private sector, gossip disclosed. It was part of his charm offensive to contain damages in the state company he runs, the Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC), which suffered bruises on the public relations front, over the past couple of weeks, claims gossip.

Unusually, the boss of another state-owned company, the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, testified before Parliament, making an embarrassing admission, that his company could show little for the staggering investment of 77 billion Br to develop a national sugar estate, with export capability. The CEO of the Corporation, Endawek Abite, had no qualms about pointing his finger at the MetEC, which has been contracted to erect the sugar mills in different parts of the country.

Beyond the blame game on the floor of Parliament though, the success or failure of MetEC begins to epitomize the inter-party politics within the Revolutionary Democrats’ camp, advancing their respective agendas, claims gossip. Yet, MetEC has continued portraying its image through the national television broadcaster as a blameless party. It is keen to project itself as a force for good, in the nation’s bid for structural transformation to an industrial economy, gossip observed.

Accordingly, Kinfe’s message to businesses was an extension of warm and embracing hands for partnerships, assuring them of no worries over finance or technical support, gossip disclosed.

The irony of these claims is not lost on many businesses, claims gossip. Kinfe is not the only player around enticing businesses with pledges of support in policy, finance and technical largesse.

Much is on offer to businesses by the Industrial Parks Development Corporation, under the watchful eyes of Arkebe Oqubay (PhD), who positioned his project as salvation from Ethiopia’s economic woes. He too has had his fair share of meetings with private businesses, pledging to put the full force of the administration behind companies determined to get involved in the manufacturing sector, inside one of the many industrial parks mushrooming across the country.

Another is soon to hit the headlines, with as much prophecy on its indispensability to the country’s economic renaissance, gossip disclosed. Under the stewardship of Ahmed Abtew, minister of Industry, the administration is to launch a new initiative of unleashing small and medium enterprises across rural Ethiopia in industries from textiles to electronic goods; from construction materials to agro-processing; and from metal fabrication to electric materials, gossip reveals.

The duplicity in the proclaimed ambition and commonality in the areas of the economy these three entities of the same feather have carved out for their involvement is simply startling, claims gossip. Not only are these groups rivaling to depict their respective selves as a panacea to Ethiopia’s economic woes. They are also under fierce competition for public resources from the state coffers, and legitimacy in the eyes of the public to be seen as one, claims gossip.

In a way, this reveals the fact that the administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, under whose command the three individuals fall, suffers from a deficit of focus and coherence, claims gossip. In an economy which is starved of cash and foreign exchange, the least the administration could do is not to confuse businesses with conflicting offers, but to streamline the various initiatives aiming at the same target, according to gossip.

Published on Jun 07,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 840]



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