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.

Poor Drainage System Triggers Local Distress

The inadequacy of a well-structured drainage system has been a persistent problem in Addis Abeba for decades. As the drainage system is not properly maintained and is not properly constructed at all, it is common to see waste, growing plants and leakages hindering water flow down to the drains, which usually leads to flooding whenever the summer season approaches. Also, the existing drain pipes are not large enough to ensure smooth flow of water, creating an inconvenience for pedestrians as well as for car owners, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

A New Day for the Coffee Market

Today, Ethiopia is the fifth largest coffee producer next to Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia, harvesting approximately 280,000 metric tonnes of coffee annually. In the past decade, the market has seen many ups and downs. Traceability, long value chain, little incentives given to farmers as well as the lack of finance were the major hurdles of the market, leading to the drop in export earnings of the country. A week ago, as a major move to solve these issues, the Parliament approved a new proclamation to bring a reformation in the value chain of the coffee market. The effects of the reform seem to be seen in the export proceeds of the country, bringing more than 866 million dollars in the just ended fiscal year. This has brought mixed feelings to the industry players, reports SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Small Businesses Contend against City’s Tax Income Assessment

After the controversial presumptive tax assessment ended on June 7, 2017, the Addis Abeba branch of the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA) processed the collected data and announced the outcomes starting from June 26, 2017. The Level-C taxpayers, who have half a million Br in sales annually, reacted against the outcomes of the assessment like they did in the process. Meanwhile, ERCA states it has done things meticulously and fairly. Until things are rectified and a fair level of harmony is reached, the city’s tax system remains uncertain with traders blaming the Authority, saying it is not fair, while the latter complains back, saying traders deceive or misunderstand taxation, reports BINYAM HAILEMESKEL, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Businesses, Government Grapple with Overstayed Containers

Amid the disputes of the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority and taxpayers over stalled containers, the flow of containers to dry ports is increasing every day. None of the stakeholders can bring a solution to evade the real bottleneck, except point fingers at each other, BERHANE HAILEMARIAM, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Armyworm Still Wreaks Havoc on Maize

Although the fall armyworm pest set foot for the first time in Ethiopia in February 2017 in only one regional state, it has currently spread to six, attacking 135,000ha of land covered by maize. The government claims that it is extending support to the farmers in the affected areas by providing pesticides and other technical assistance, but the farmers in these regions are still exercising handpicking of larvae as an immediate response to the armyworm attack, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Addis Again On a Massive Knockdown

Before the end of the current fiscal year, city officials are rushing to clear 1,510 houses, resting on 56ha in Arada District, in an area locally known as Satan Bet. Although this redevelopment project was planned three years ago and the demolition started a year ago, it was on and off for various reasons. But for the past 20 days, the Wereda has resumed demolition of the houses aggressively, leaving some of the residents clueless where to go, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Audit Gaps Concerns

It is common to hear that government institutions misappropriate billions of Birr in resources. However, the Administration has failed to take action against institutions that have not managed to use their budgets appropriately. When confronted, the leaders of these establishments come up with one excuse after another. Last week, the Auditor General reported illegitimate transactions of 20 billion Br. This problem has been alarmingly on the rise since 2014. Over time, government agencies with financial books in disarray are surging as SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Red Alert Over Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks are becoming a headache to the networked community in Ethiopia. The number of attacks on computers of private and public institutions is increasing, particularly following the coming of the infamous malware – WannaCry. Weak computer security systems, lack of literacy in IT and computer use, and the easily transferable nature of malware are among the causes that expose for a cyber attack, as SAMSON BERHANE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Traders and Tax Authority Play Hide and Seek

Giving a closer look at the empty outlets of businesses located in many parts of the city, it can be witnessed that there is something new happening in the scene. It is the new daily income valuation process of the tax authority, that has led traders to hide their products with the major fear of being subjected to higher taxes. At the same time, the Authority is trying a different mechanism in order to address these challenges, FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Judgment Execution, Another Nightmare for Justice Seekers

Two weeks ago, the state celebrated the seventh national Justice Week at a time when most of the people are uncertain about the judicial system in the country. One of the sources of disappointment in the justice system is the delay in the process of execution as FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Breathalyser: Poison for Some, Food for Others

After the introduction of the breathalyser in Addis a few months ago, nightlife in the city has acquired a double-edged face. Traffic accidents are decreasing and night cab services are sweetening their profits. But only to the dismay of night businesses of the city’s bars and nightclubs, as Binyam Hailemeskel, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER, reports.

Fuel, City’s Unyielding Test

Like many times before, fuel shortage in the city has intensified in recent days. Many gas stations are shut while open ones are overcrowded with large amounts of vehicles hungry for fuel. Even if the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise and the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Gas are stating that the problem is solved, anger from drivers and apparent long line-ups around stations magnify the capital’s adage, as SAMSON BERHANE and BINYAM HAILEMESKEL report.


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