Gov’t Striving to Boost Productivity, Enhance Imports Substitution: Ministry of Industry

The Ethiopian government has been striving to significantly boost domestic production and reduce the country’s reliance on imports in the coming years.

Ethiopia is today observing ‘Productivity Day’ under the theme “From Consumer to Producer!’ as part of the series of events being marked during the month of Pagumen.

The objective of the event is to promote productivity in all sectors of the economic activities with a view to strengthening import substitution, job creations among others.

State Minister of Industry Tarekegn Bululta said currently Ethiopia produces only 38 percent of the commodities it needs, the rest is imported from abroad. However, the country has enormous potential to expand its manufacturing capabilities.

“Ethiopia has the largest production capacity in Africa,” Tarekegn said, adding “With our young, growing population and abundant natural resources, we have what it takes to become a major industrial power.”

Over the next 10 years, the government envisages that Ethiopia produces 60 percent of its commodity needs domestically, he said.

To achieve this, the administration has developed a new industrial policy aimed at creating a more business-friendly environment.

The policy will improve ease of doing business and help attract investment into manufacturing,” Tarekegn explained.

According to the state minister, ‘Let Ethiopia Produce’ movement, that was launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed a year ago with the objective to strengthen industrial productivity, has been registering an encouraging achievements.

The campaign has brought significant improvements in terms of domestic productivity in addition to the enormous interest being demonstrated by investors to engage in the industry sector in Ethiopia.

Following the campaign, industrial productivity has increased to 55 percent from 46 percent over the past three years, he said noting that the nation has developed capability to substitute imported products and earn foreign currency.

According to him, production of food staffs, textile and garment, as well as leather are some of the product items that registered improvement as a result of the national campaign.

‘Let Ethiopia Produce’ movement has now transformed to project office as per the direction given by Prime Minister Abiy to institutionalize the structure of the movement, the state minister added.

The project office has now commenced operation by establishing clusters in various sectors including agriculture, investment, and infrastructure with a view enhanced productivity, he announced.

Since the launch of “Let Ethiopia Produce” campaign, over 350 closed factories have resumed operations, contributing significantly to GDP growth.

The government is availing land provisions and other incentives as priorities to manufacturers, he said.

“As a result of our efforts to increase efficiency in the domestic production, some 2.26 billion US dollar worth of imports has been substituted in 2015 alone,” Tarekegn said.

According to him, six new industry clusters have been established to support growth in key sectors like food, beverages, engineering, leather, and chemicals.

With the new industrial plan in place, Ethiopia appears poised to continue growing its manufacturing base and achieving greater self-sufficiency. Many are optimistic that the country can realize its ambitious goals and become industrial hub across Africa.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency