Fitsum Assefa

New Dev’t Plan Need to Focus on Fixing Economic Inequality, Parties told Planning body

ADDIS ABABA – Political parties have urged the national planning agency to devise an economic development plan with a focus on equitable wealth distribution and creating fair opportunity for marginalized communities. 

Ethiopia’s five year Growth and Transformation Plan Two [GTP II] expired last year and authorities have formulated a new 10-year economic development plan under the theme ‘Ethiopia: An African Beacon of Prosperity’.

The draft document – unveiled by the National Planning and Development Commission’s in July – has been under continuous dialogue in a separate platform with various government institutions.

On Friday, it was political parties’ turn to have their say on the draft plan.

Most of the participants of the held a half-day attended by finance minister Ahmed Shide have stressed on the need to correct the unfair and unbalanced economic growth that the previous plans resulted in.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in 2018, has launched an ambitious economic reform drive aimed at opening up one of Africa’s fastest-growing but most closed economies.

The draft plan aims to increase production and competitiveness; build a green and climate-resilient economy as well as bringing about institutional transformation.

Officials of the opposition parties, however, are keen to see the impact of the growing economy to trickle down to the whole country, not a few.

“To what extent this plan would answer the unbalanced wealth distribution among regions,” inquired Mussa Adem, Chairman of Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council, said of the new plan.

The existing unparalleled economic development among regions and cities is a clear manifestation of previous regimes’ failure to provide a fair distribution of wealth, he said.

Vice-chairman of the National Movement of Amhara, Yusuf Ebrahim, on his part, said the commission needs to devise an approach that could treat regions in a closer and consistent way.

Sultan Kasim of the Oromo Democratic Alliance party on his part said most of the major economic activities are concentrated in and around the capital.

He told officials the plan needs to decentralize that, and help regions create comparative advantage based on their resources.

Most of the inputs have been welcomed by the head of the planning commission, Fitsum Asefa, who assured them of her office’s effort to formulate a well-developed plan that impacts the lives of all Ethiopians positively.

“Such discussions will help us to clearly look at issues that we haven’t identified during preparation,” said Fitsum, adding similar discussions will continue to be held before the document is directed to the parliament for approval.

Unlike the GTP, planning commission the newly drafted plan “is highly researched in all the different sectors”, and aims to fill in the gaps in the previous one. As per the commission, Ethiopia’s economy will experience a 10.2 percent average growth annually under the new plan.

By Sisay Sahlu

Featured Image: Commissioner of National Planning and Development Commission Fitsum Assefa (PhD) [Photo File]

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