The Ethiopian 2006 fiscal year promises to be a year of change…

The Ethiopian 2006 fiscal year  promises to be a year of change up on Lorenzo Te’azaz Road, those at the gossip corridors anticipate. If nothing else – and little is in store in substantive policy changes – there is no doubt there will be a change of guard in many federal agencies, including those whose custodians have not changed for over a decade, claims gossip.

A little over a year in office, Hailemariam Desalegn appears to be moving ahead slowly but surely. His pace does seem to give the impression to the larger public that he is too slow, however, according to gossip. He might have learnt a trick or two from his former mentor, Meles Zenawi, that it is always to his advantage to be underestimated by foes and friends alike, gossip claims.

Having an enormous political capital, including from sceptics who chose to give him the benefit of the doubt, he has already started the reshuffling process within his administration, gossip noticed.

The veteran ideologue of the Revolutionary Democratic movement in Ethiopia, Abay Tsehaye, has been relieved off of his responsibility as chief of the nation’s nascent sugar estate, as of the first week of October 2013, gossip disclosed. Abay may have a sharp difference of opinion on the fate and evolution of the sugar estates under development in the south and north-west of the country, according to gossip.

Strapped with cash, the federal government may be compelled to rethink, in order to draw in its horns from developing 10 of these estates, gossip observed.

An alternative is to develop them through joint venture arrangements, where there is already a strong desire demonstrated by investors from the Middle East, particularlyKuwait, gossip disclosed. In as much as there are those in the administration who are in favour of the latter’s option, Abay is reportedly in the camp where he would rather see a complete state hold on the estates, claims gossip.

Perhaps free from the nitty-gritty of daily governance, he will now have time to focus on his advisory role on strategic policy directions, joining the league of Bereket Simon, Kassu Illala (PhD) and Kuma Demekissa, gossip says.

On the active governance front though, Abay’s move in two weeks is just a signal of what is yet to come. The old guard in the movement is giving way to the second generation of EPRDFites, which Hailemariam himself belongs to, according to gossip. The change of guards in the military and security establishments is where those at the gossip corridors claim backroom politics is currently underway.

In the forefront, however, a Prime Minister – who appears to be fed up with bureaucratic bottlenecks, which have nearly neutralised the nation’s competitiveness – has established a council he himself is there to chair. Largely composed of private sector leaders representing the various industry lobby groups and associations, the National Competitiveness Council was launched on Friday, September 20, 2013, winning a unanimous support of those who took part at the Council of Ministers meeting.

It is a Council designated with the ownership of responsibilities, and is legally mandated to hunt for road blocks, from policy to regulatory and officialdom, and pushes its way through the jam, gossip anticipates.

For much of the problems originate from the inefficient and incapable, if not the corrupt, people installed into high offices as rewards for their political loyalty, it will be inevitable to see the Council and its members encounter hostility from the very officialdom that has little incentive to support it, gossip anticipates.

Published on Sep 22, 2013 [ Vol 14 ,No 699]



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