The hall of Ethiopian parliament in Addis Ababa

MPs Ratify Land Expropriation & Compensation Bill

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopian lawmakers have approved on Wednesday a revised expropriation and compensation bill.

The newly ratified law will allow the government to expropriate land from owners for a public purpose through the “adequate payment of compensation for evacuated people”.

Members of parliament who were in two-month summer recess had to convene to ratify the bill, prepared by urban development and construction minister, in their urgent session on Wednesday.

The law replaced the 13-years-old Land Expropriation and Compensation Payment proclamation.

The previous law, officials say, lacked to devise a procedure to resolve grievances coming from displaced people, among others.

The new law gives much power to landholders, Ashenafi Gami, chairperson of the Urban construction and transport affairs standing committee of the parliament said.

The government has found it necessary to address the housing need of the steadily growing urban population.

That requires more land for building a house, infrastructure and that has made it crucial for land expropriation, reasons the bill, which was eventually approved with a majority vote.

– Opening up the banking sector –

During the same session, PMs passed another bill that opens up the financial sector to Ethiopian diaspora communities.

The newly ratified bill allows them to buy shares in local banks and start lending businesses.

“The law will enable the Ethiopian born diaspora to take part in the economic growth of the country,” said Lemlem Hadgo, chairperson of the Revenues, Budget and Finance Committee of parliament.

“It will also address the grievances raised over the issue.”

Ethiopia’s banking sector is closed to foreign investment and is still one of the most tightly state-controlled in Africa.

By Sisay Sahlu