ADDIS ABABA, July 3 — Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn has assured that a favourable climate will be created for local investors to be engaged in manufacturing by removing the obstacles which hinder their entry into the sector.

Speaking at the Second National Business Conference here Wednesday, he added that the government would strive to solve the problems faced by local investors with respect to good governance, finance, availability of land, power supply interruptions and the like.

The government and investors should work together as the private sector played a key role in the economy of the country and determined the growth of the nation, he said.

The Prime Minister said the manufacturing sector was largely left to the private investor and the government would invest only in sectors which private investors could not embark upon.

With respect to taxation, Hailemariam stated that extensive reforms had been undertaken to establish a modern payments system, noting that it was important to create a system whereby investors could pay tax without entering into disputes with the government.

He also urged investors to meet their national obligation by keeping their accounts in order.

The other bottleneck which had obstructed the growth of both the government and the investors was rent-seeking, he noted, while calling on both parties to join hands in the fight to eliminate the scourge.

Hailemariam said auditors hired by the private sector and incompetent civil servants were hindrances to the tax payment system and these should be responsibly checked.

Responding to the complaint of investors about difficulties in obtaining loans, the premier said the government banks would lend 52 per cent of the allotted amount of loans to private investors. However, he added, there was a discrepancy of supply and demand of loans as the amount of money collected from the public was low since the saving culture in Ethiopia is weak.

In spite of this, the Ethiopian Development Bank had disbursed 20 billion birr (about 1.02 billion US dollars) to the private sector in the last Ethiopian fiscal year, according to the prime minister. The government will set aside special loans to investors who engage in the manufacturing sector, he further stressed.

The President of Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, Solomon Afework, on his part said a lack of technical capability and capital as well as red tape in government offices are the factors that discourage investor from engaging in the manufacturing sector.

He added that support of the government to the private sector is therefore essential to consolidate the industrial sector and make it competitive in foreign markets.


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