Govt Secures over 80bln Birr Fund in 3 Months, Put Plan to Privatize Ethiopian Airlines on Hold

  • Put 6 Houses built for outgoing officials for Sale

  • Delays Privatizing Ethiopian Airlines

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has secured a total of 80.8 billion birr from both foreign and local sources in the first quarter of the current 2020/21 fiscal year, its Finance Minister said on Tuesday.

Foreign lenders provided the east African nation 6.4 billion birr in the form of grant and loan. Non-tax local sources have contributed at least 13 billion birr to the total share of the revenue.



But the majority of the total revenue – amounting 61 billion birr – were generated from the tax.

“The newly revised excise tax, customs and impact of tax incentive put in place have contributed for the increase in the amount of revenue generated within the country,” Finance Minister Ahmed Shide said while briefing journalists about the ministry’s quarterly performance report.

The report claims that government expenditure has reached 97.7bln birr during the past three months. The amount is 22.9 percent of the government’s total budget for the period.

– COVID Impact –

“Despite the impact of the COVID-19, the government’s comprehensive and proactive response has helped the economy to withstand its pressure,” he said.

The minister, however, said the current double-digit inflation has become “a major challenge to the economy”. Last week, Ethiopia’s Central Statistical Agency has put the headline inflation at 18.7.

Some measures are already put in place to tackle the inflation, said the minister, who claimed the government already procured 1mln metric tons of wheat and will be imported in a short period of time in a bid to ease the pressure.

 

The minister expects the country to record “a positive economic growth” but refrained to delve into details.

Progress in Privatization

Over the past three months, the ministry has also been busy facilitating the government’s push to open the telecom sector for foreign investors.

Price evaluation and capacity building to expedite the privatization process have already been completed, the minister said.

“We are waiting for the final decision to enter into the tender process,” said Ahmed, who also said the final outcome regarding the privatization process will be carried out in the second quarter of the current 2020/21 fiscal year.

In the case of Ethiopian Airlines, the minister said a decision has been made to delay the privatization process of the national flag carrier.

“We are pushing the airlines to maintain its current capacity and efficiency as it has a significant contribution to the country’s economy in particular and to Africa in general,” Ahmed said.

Luxurious houses on Sale

During the period, the ministry has decided to sell at least 6 luxurious houses built for higher government officials when they finish their terms.

“Due to their location which poses security threats, the government decided to put them on sale,” he said.

The government could gain at least a billion birr from the sale of the houses which were built during Hailemariam Dessalegne’s reign.

By Sisay Sahlu

Share this