Blotted with Garbage

Addis Abeba’s streets and neighbourhoods have, yet again, been invaded by heaps of rubbish, trash bins filled to the brim, and the grisly, lingering stench emanating from them. Passers-by hold their breaths and those responsible for managing the city’s waste try to camouflage their culpability behind corruption controversies sweeping the nation. The municipality expends millions to keep the city clean. Hence, there must be other underlying problems causing the mess. SAMSON BERHANE and YIBELTAL GEBREGZABHER, FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS, probe further into the matter.

Credit Cap Puts Businesses, Banks in Limbo

The recent devaluation has brought with it complimentary reforms to restrain its repercussions. A new law imposed on the banking industry to limit the amount of credit extended to a debtor caught the eye of many. Loan Dependent small scale industries are feeling the burn the most, while the banks are also baffled with central bank’s reform. For some, more problems are on the cards but others can see the light at the end of the tunnel, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Controversial Labour Bill Stirs Up Public Discontent

A recent overhaul in the nation’s labour proclamation faces disapproval from the labour unions and workforce. While the amendment aims to provide a framework to equally benefit both the employers and employees, the Union, representing over half a million labourers across the country, claims it undermines their rights. Putting forward a slew of points it disagrees with in the new reform, the Union plans to demonstrate against the changes peacefully and will resort to a nationwide strike if their trepidations are not heeded to, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

IFRS: Achieveable or Impractical

Debate continues to rage over the future of accounting in Ethiopia. After Ethiopia proclaimed the adoption of Integrated Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) till 2020, many big companies and corporations are on the way to adopt the standard in a bid to reform their auditing methods and to easily function in the global economy. But, none of the companies have implemented IFRS so far, except the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE)- although some are progressing towards its application. Insufficient skilled labour, radical changes from current practices and under-resourced institutions to enforce standards are the major challenges that deter organisations to go in line with the scheduled period, as SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Painful Pill, Yet Again

Ethiopia had made at least five devaluations since the introduction of a mixed economy in the country, 27 years ago. The intention was to make the overvalued currency competitive, aiming to overcome the scarcity of foreign exchange by promoting export and discouraging import. The gain, however, from all the devaluations has always been questioned. Now, even though Hailemariam Desalgen’s Administration is confident that the devaluation will bring a positive change to the economy, the move seems to have brought the shock before the reap, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Ethio telecom Manoeuver Upsets Mobile Market

Since the introduction of a new system by the telecom giant, some industry players in the mobile market expressed grief against the applicability of the new system, while others commented that it will make the telecom provider bigger than ever. On the other hand, local assemblers are hoping to benefit from the directive as it will wipe out smuggled phones out of the market. This, however, is no good news for businesses depending on contraband phones. To make it worse, over the past three weeks, following the shortage of mobile supply, the consumers’ pockets were hit by a drastic price upsurge, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Mesqel, Holiday of Voyages

Although holidays have common features, they each still have unique traditions and rituals that give them a character of their own. Such characteristics define them in a way that leaves a permanent impression in the minds of the society. In Ethiopia, each holiday is associated with a particular character, Easter marks the end of fasting while New year brings the sunny season, and Mesqel is known for journeys made internationally and domestically. Such a holiday also paves the way for businesses that flourish with the voyages people take for the celebration, reports

Sugar Shortage: Real or Flimflam

A rift is emerging between the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation and sugar-dependent businesses such as candy, juice and biscuit factories since last month. It is due to the chronic high shortage of sugar in the domestic market. Currently, there are five state-owned sugar factories in Ethiopia, producing over 3.5 million quintals of sugar every year twice of what it was five years ago. Nevertheless, the boom does not help the government to give a long lasting solution for the shortage recurring for decades, reports BERHANE HAILEMARIAM and SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS.

Commuters Fed Up with Addis’ Ever Messy Transportation

Residents in Addis Abeba are fed up with the shortage of transportation facilities every morning while commuting to work. Although the city got additional Alliance buses, meter taxis and Sheger buses in the past year, the long queues for transportation in Addis Abeba showed almost no improvement. Adding to that, the City’s Transport Authority has also allowed over 7,000 Code three taxis to operate in the city. Nevertheless, despite these blossoming figures, the problem has not been solved yet as ABIY SOLOMON, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER reports.

Severe Drought Costs Cattle Lives, Money

Ethiopian holidays are highly referred as food festivals and that is why many families set off to the markets to buy food items and of course livestock was on top of their list, whether sheep, goat or oxen. For this New Year the cattle markets in the city offered almost enough livestock despite the drought which killed about two million cattle, but the price for this livestock showed an increase this year, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Federal Institutions’ Disquiet Over Bleak Budget Cuts

Following a new regulation approved by the Ministry of Finance & Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), all federal government institutions were directed to cut spending made for the procurement of books, calendars, post cards as well as expenses made for over time payments. The widening of the budget deficit, which stood at 53.8 billion Br for the coming fiscal year – 2.5pc of the GDP – is said to be the major reason for the sudden direction the government took to cut spending, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Vehicle Imports in Cloud Nine as Demand Swell

A growing middle-class population and rising disposable incomes appear to be driving the country’s car market. Vehicle imports in the past fiscal year reached 117,032, the highest amount for the car industry. Despite the drastic vehicular growth rate, the import duty continues to be a major challenge for consumers and businesses. In a country where used cars dominate 80pc of the total car population, affordability of vehicles is complicated by heavy taxes, reaching as high as 300pc. This, however, does not seem to hinder consumers from buying vehicles with some help from auto loans, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Flick Teff Price Upsurge Hits Wallets

Teff is the preferred grain for most residents in the country. It is important for the country’s economy, both in terms of production and consumption. In a nation that has a population of 100 million, seven million households grow teff. But over the past three weeks, food prices have soared throughout the country and now the beloved Ethiopian staple, Teff, is becoming too expensive for many working-class people. It has gone through the roof, selling for as high as 30 Br in a Kg depending on the area, report HAWI ABDISA and SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITERS.

Bidders Keep Showing Little Appetite for Auctioned Properties

The Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) has been announcing many auctions in the past five months, from the one billion worth textile company, Elsie Addis, to the 15 million Br leather processing company put on sale last week. The auctions, however, were not as fruitful as expected since no bidder was interested in buying these properties. Realising the problem, in a bid to administer the unsold properties, DBE has already received the green light from the Central Bank to establish a new company with a capital of 10 million Br, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Ethiopia off the Grid

Demand for electric power is increasing year to year as the population, and industry, is growing at an exponential rate, but still, the country is suffering continuous blackouts. Government officials who are in charge of power generation claim that the supply and demand are met at this time but the gap is from the distribution line. On the other hand, the distributor wing promises improvements by reasoning the commissioning of a new project to solve this problem, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Hard-to-Tax Businesses Still Unsatisfied With the Tax Reform

The new tax assessment result keeps troubling the government as many small businesses, known as level “C” taxpayers, across the country are striking over estimation made by the government. In Addis Abeba alone, about 14,226 taxpayers have complained over inexact daily income calculation and imposition of massive taxes. Even though the government is saying 99pc of the complaints have been addressed, the problem is getting worse and worse as the strikes and protests are spreading to other regional states, reports SAMSON BERHANE. Nevertheless, despite all this, the government still aims to advance the tax base and increase the much-needed government revenue.


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