The frantic effort to patch up documents in a bid to produce the second generation of the nation’s GTP..

The frantic effort to patch up documents in a bid to produce the second generation of the nation’s Growth and Transformation Plan is in the making. The two able technocrats, Getachew Adem and his boss, Mekonnen Manyazewal, state minister and minister, respectively, of the National Planning Commission (NPC), are putting their figures on the crude documents generated by desperately confused bureaucracy in the system, gossip observed.

Like in any situation of despair, there are indeed opportunities for several others around the bloc who make it their livelihoods to “enable” others do what they themselves have barley achieved in real life, claims gossip. Hard pressed by their respective bosses in the higher-ups, almost all heads of federal ministries, authorities, commissions and agencies are running around searching for input to produce their respective strategic plans to be used as materials for the GTP-II, according to gossip.

Several with the advantage of unutilised budgets are hashing and warming up their thumbs to redirect funds to hire outsourced consulting firms, gossip observed. Very soon, the limited number of international consulting firms present in Addis Abeba, and their domestic contenders and counterparts, will be sought out to help craft a five-year strategic plan; and the going price could be in the neighbourhood of half a million Birr, gossip projects.

With the backdrop of the first generation of the GTP, which the Revolutionary Democrats have always been “in-the-know”, so to speak, about the unattainable nature of the highly ambitious targets jammed into it, the current discourse is on the degree of ambition these agencies ought to have for the GTP-II, claims gossip. It is one thing to declare that the country will have a network of 5,000km of railway lines within five years, or the over 36,000 kebeles across the country will be connected to each other with all-weather roads within the same period. Less than a year from its conclusion, the country is far from seeing any of these go beyond the project level, said gossip.

Beyond and above the need to make the GTP-II realistic, what should actually claim a centre-stage in the plan is up for grabs by several interest groups, gossip disclosed. It is enough to simply observe who has been frequenting Mekonnen’s office on Entoto Street lately to figure out who wants to influence the outcome of this plan, claims gossip.

The Wold Bank is a front runner in this, with its strong desire to see the promotion and expansion of light manufacturing plants in Ethiopia, gossip revealed. Pushed by Justin Yifu Lin, a former chief economist at the Bank, this is a force that wants to see a federal government policy geared towards wholesale support of light manufacturing clustered around small towns across the country, claims gossip. Gossip sees the Japanese in this bag, too. And this view appears to be the one which has a currency with the top leadership of the EPRDFites, as well as traction with the chief macroeconomic advisor to the Prime Minister, Neway Gebreab, gossip disclosed.

Following, but no less important, are the British – one of the two largest financiers of Ethiopia’s government expenditure. They are on the other side of the aisle, pushing for the idea of a “green economy”, gossip claims. Not surprisingly, they are tight in purse, but vocal in their demands. Neighbours up in the Scandinavian are on board, urging planners to take a “green economy” as a lead concept in the plan, claims gossip.

Indeed, the Chinese – quiet as they are in words and generous in purse – have their diplomats here in Addis pushing for the GTP-II to put infrastructure development as a premier agenda, gossip observed. In the midst are the technocrats in the planning commission and at the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED), undecided about the conflicting pressures but marvelled with the unusual attention they are getting from the international community, says gossip.

Published on October 19, 2014 [ Vol 19 ,No 755]



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