Prime Minister Abiy addresses MPs on range of issues
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has responded to the quests made by the Members of the Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.
He addressed a range of matters raised by the MPs.
“Context is a key understanding the challenges we have faced as a nation. The Covid-19 pandemic, the war in the northern part of Ethiopia and other global conflicts as well as undue international pressure have inevitably had a bearing on what transpires in the country,” Abiy said.
Ethiopia has encountered both manmade and natural disasters that affected socio-economic and political scenarios in the country.
Like any other economies, the Russia-Ukraine war will have its own consequences on our economy, he says.
“Had been unprepared for extensive wheat farming it would have been difficult for us to survive unlike other African countries that suffered a shortage of Wheat due to the Russian-Ukraine war,” Abiy said.
He said efforts are underway to boost productivity of the agricultural sector, adding, “28% of the arable land has been cultivated with the help of mechanized farming system.”
“Close to 5000 tractors were employed in the agricultural sector. Close to 45% of the arable land is being used in cluster farming,” he said as he presented the performance of the agricultural sector.
The Premier stated that the nation has secured 336 million quintals of crop from the autumn season farming.
Lack of finance has long been a challenge to the agricultural sector, which is considered as the backbone of nation’s economy.
From the loan disbursed to the private sector, which is 267 billion Birr, 73 billion Birr was granted to the agricultural sector, the PM said.
Lack of fertilizer has been also the major bottleneck that hampered agricultural productivity. “The federal government has subsidized fertilizer with 15 billion Birr or 1000 Birr in a quintal in the current fiscal year,” as Abiy puts it.
According to Abiy, close to 24 million quintals of crop production is expected to be harvested from the on-going summer irrigation based wheat production.
The Prime Minister also stressed that the measures the government has taken to tackle the challenges have brought about positive results such as better results in the efforts to ensure food security and self-sufficiency.
“The Ethiopian Roads Administration (ERA) has planned to build around 22,000km of concrete asphalt roads in four years but managed to achieve 13,000km,” he said adding, “Construction of 9,000km roads was delayed due to of lack of security and other factors”.
Close to 151km of asphalt road was constructed Addis Abeba in three years, according to Abiy. Some of these roads are a width of 60 meter.
He mentioned the Western Gojjam Zone as an example to depict lack of connectivity to road infrastructure. “Now, we are constructing 504km roads in the zone”.
The same is true for Bale zone. Previously only Goba-Robe was an Asphalt road, but the government is now constructing a road in Bale zone, he said.
East and West Gojjam Zone constitute 25% of the agricultural yield in Amhara region. “Considering that fact, we have constructed 121km from Jigga-Quari to Tilli, Dembech-Feres Bet-Adet 137km, Dur Bet to Kunzila and 135km and Mankusa to Birshelleqo 36km,” Abiy explained.
Also, Burie to Gomera 43km, Konji-Kolella 11km and Bahir Dar to Tis Bet 21km of road was constructed in Gojjam, according to the report Abiy presented to MPs.
PM Abiy said the export industry has registered a remarkable growth despite pressures including termination of the AGOA privilege. But, he failed to delve into how Ethiopia’s export earnings boosted despite expulsion from AGOA quota-free trade platform.
Regarding the Sugar industry, Abiy said despite lack of security in some areas, efforts have been done to increase production capacity to 360,000 tons of sugar production from figure of 200,000 tons.
Lack of Bread is one of the challenges across Addis Abeba.
“We have created the capacity to produce 3 million Breads in a day for those in need from a 20,000 daily capacity. “This is still not enough indeed. But productivity requires work,” he explained.
“Despite security challenges in some areas, we have managed during the reforms to increase what was 200,000 tons production capacity to 360,000 tons of sugar production following efforts to bring into productivity all the factories.”
Abiy believes that inflation is a major problem that tests the economy. “What makes it more difficult is the major victims are the poor society,” he said.
Lack of products and high demand on the other side, problems related to logistics, disruptions in trade activities, logistics-related matters, internal migration, conflicts and use of finance as major factors that exacerbated the inflation.
He also explained global experience with regard to inflation and he stressed Ethiopia’s inflation rate is lower compared to some countries.
Abiy pointed out that Ethiopian Airlines has increased its number of aircrafts from 100 to 135 and its international destinations from 115 to 127 in the last three years.
“Ethiopian has uplifted its revenue from $3.3 billion to $4.8 billion,” Abiy said.
Furthermore, the annual customer accommodation capacity of Bole International Airport has increased from 6 million to 22 million passengers.
Abiy indicated that the telecom giant Ethio Telecom is registering growth despite the challenges of conflict.
Abiy stated that Ethio Telecom’s customer has increased from 37.9 million to 65.5 million while its revenue boosted from 33.5 billion Birr to 55 billion Birr showing a 21.5 billion Birr increase.
Those remarkable result are registered in spite of the fact that Ethio Telecom is unable to cover some zones and region due conflict, he stressed.