Private Banks Boom on Redesign Strategy

Ethiopia’s banking sector is criticized for its traditional system and lack of robust and customer-oriented services, while the market remains untapped. To rectify this, banks are redesigning strategies with the consultation of international firms. While the strategy has brought changes to the operational result of the banks, the question of uniqueness and efficiency remains up in the air, writes BEHAILU AYELE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


Chasing Reform, Tax Authority Impresses Some, Frustrates Others

The extent of the tax burden is one factor the private sector considers in deciding to expand, quit or move on to another industry. The Ethiopian government implemented a series of reforms in the past two decades to create and run an efficient tax collection system. This year, the government deducted tax rates, reduced presumptive taxing days and resolved last year’s complaints from category “C” taxpayers. Yet business owners still complain about the taxing system, writes BEHAILU AYELE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Power Interruptions Outrage Businesses, Residents

The government of Ethiopia has invested 162 million dollars to address Addis Abeba’s unreliable power supply. Ethiopia Electric Utility, is taking measures to meet the ever growing electricity demand of 3.6 million or so city residents. Despite resolutions made by the government, the capital is experiencing increased blackouts, and the citizens are expressing their grievances about the recurrent power outages, writes BEHAILU AYELE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Urban Safety Net Killing Two Birds with One Stone

Though Addis Abeba is the capital of the country and the seat of major commercial operations, 30pc of the population is under the poverty line, slightly higher than the national average. To combat this, the government has joined with the World Bank to launch a programme that aims to alleviate poverty by engaging the poor in productive income generating activities, writes BERHANE HAILEMARIAM, FORTUNE STAFFWRITER.

Parallel Market Exchange Rate Weakens, Banks Celebrate

The black market for hard currencies operates outside the rules and regulations set by the authorities. While the official exchange rate for one dollar has been set at  27.5 Ethiopian Br, the black market rate had peaked at a historic rate of 36.6 Br. However, the last two weeks have seen a significant decline of 19.4 pc in the black market rates. Subsequently, a slight increase in remittances and forex supplies has been witnessed in the mainstream financial sector, writes BEHAILU AYELE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Entrepreneurship in Ethiopia at Crossroads

Entrepreneurship is taking the risk of doing something and also doing it in a different way than it has been done before.  In Ethiopia, it has been taken as one of the ways to create more jobs and reduce poverty. The government showed its commitment to entrepreneurs by budgeting 21 billion Br on its five-year strategic plan. Yet, many businesses got interrupted before reaching their intended goal, and the government has been criticised for its rigid business starting procedures, unintegrated institutions and for hesitant response to ever-growing entrepreneurship demands. To address such issues, experts and entrepreneurs call for policy and institutional reforms and for the enactment of national entrepreneurship policy, writes BEHAILU AYELE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Quality, Access in Education Diverge

In the past few years, Ethiopian children enjoyed the better accessibility of schools in three to four kilometres radius from their living areas, the ideal primary school coverage overreaching 100pc. This expansion, however, seems not to be serving the purpose in the creation of the future, rather end up being the hallmark of quality thirst. Experts argue that with little attention for basic skills, creative elements and paradoxical curricula, it will become harder to see fruits in days ahead, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Joblessness Gains Momentum as Construction Industry Decelerates

The shortage of forex can be felt more severely than before, and even though the construction sector is seasonal, it has been highly affected. As prices of construction inputs become more expensive or harder to find, daily labourers are feeling the effect as it has been harder for them to find jobs. An expert points to the unexplored iron-ore in the Oromia Regional State as a solution to alleviate the burden of importing the materials needed, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER. 

Authority Gets Tough As Revenues Disappoint

The Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority failed 29 billion Br short of its target for tax collection which was 162.1 billion Br, in the first nine months of this fiscal year. Some feel as if the Authority is easing its frustration by putting the burden on taxpayers in orfer to have better performance, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRTIER.

Export Revenue Goes Cold, Disrupts Macroeconomy

Although the import bill has shown a decline last year, this year’s export revenue remains to disappointment with barely half of the target met. As macroeconomic problems continue, international financial institutions advice the government to consider making cuts to government expenditur. If the budgets are not modest a further devautation of the Birr is inevitable, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Railway Unnerves Freighters, Heartens Importers

After months of commercial operations, the Ethio-Djibouti Railways is seen as reducing freighters’ piece of the pie. Although it is not running at full capacity, it is seen as a game changer in the transportation sector of a landlocked nation, reports, YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Smaller Players on the Edge as Price of Condo Shops Escalate

With prices for shops at the bottom of condominiums is at an all-time high, the offers individuals make for them are becoming unattractive compared to banks and companies who offer three times more. The higher offers benefits brokers and real estate companies, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Chicken Fodder Shortage Sends Egg Price Soaring

Consumers in the capital are seeing the price of eggs climb from 3.50 Br to five Birr within the past few months. It happens that a steep increase in the price of fodder, a business dominated by a few within the nation, seems to make the market anticipate a sheer pace of price increase on eggs, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Inflation Misses the Mark, Hurts Consumers

A recent report released by the Central Statistics Agency (CSA) shows that inflation has subsided to 13.7pc in April from its second annual high of 15.2pc. But the decrease is not shown on the prices of items on the ground level, where consumers are seeing their monthly expenses at an incredibly high level, YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Customs Authority Stands on Necks of Insurers for Expired Guarantee Bond

Since the past two months, the insurance industry was on a crackdown. The situation was followed by the sudden move of Customs Authority which claims that it owes them close to one billion Birr for expired customs guarantee bonds. Law enforcement staffs of the Authority are seizing the bank accounts and confiscating the vehicles of insurance companies, giving a headache to the industry which is in its infancy, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Fashion Talent Incubators Amass in Addis

Amongst the fastest growing industries is that of the fashion industry, especially in Addis Abeba. Together with this trend, fashion talent incubators are multiplying in number to offer hopeful designers the basics of the field. The industry’s insiders, on the other hand, point out that just because there has been a change in quantity, quality still remains to be tackled, reports YARED TSEGAYE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.


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