Arkebe’s lies to Bloomberg on continuing double-digit growths terribly delusional & irresponsible

17 Mar

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

In Ethiopia, TPLF-occupation forces often love to speak in terms of numbers, as if numbers alone they create or author could become a source of their credibility, but are hardly attested to by outcomes Ethiopians have been waiting for. Consequently, it has been a foregone conclusion for Ethiopians that all TPLF officials invariably share one typical characteristic – they all spine-chillingly lie outright!

In spite of that, nonetheless, regarding the economy’s performance during the first five-year planning (2010/11-2015/16) cycle, Ethiopians dismayingly learned that not a single external trade target has been attained. Arkebe Okubay, the former guerrilla fighter and once Addis Abeba’s mayor and the man that presided over the initial rounds of land grab by TPLF civilian and military leaders, as recent TPLF appointee as one of the dozens of ministerial advisers to the Man in Ethiopian prime minister’s office, has again opted to forget those failures because of his self-induced temporary amnesia.

That Ethiopia has found it difficult to overcome its perennial reserve-and-foreign-exchange crisis is thus an indictment against such officials an unmistakeable exposé to their lies. The striking proof of this is that the country’s financial crisis has been worsening by each passing month, irrespective of under whatever name it is packaged and whichever quarter it relates to on the fiscal calendar.

In confirming this, today March 17, 2016 Minister of Trade Yakob Yala, therefore, has been forthcoming in calling the spade a spade. He spoke out that already the 2015-2016 six-month earnings from export of agricultural commodities has once again been a little over 40 percent below the target set out in the second growth and transformation plan (GTPII 2016-2020).

Much as he has attributed the latest problem to the slowdown in the global economy, in particular the commodity market, Yakob Yala has not also hold back the adverse impact of the drought and the human and institutional inertia from within Ethiopia.

It was in that context that he hinted preparations underway to call meetings of all those involved in foreign trade. Sadly, the minister did not indicate what purpose those meetings would serve, since following each drop in the nation’s earnings from external trade, with the forex crisis as driver, the TPLF officials have been true to their habitual practices of congregating in criticisms and self-criticisms to change the adverse situation. Unfortunately, these have delivered nothing of the sorts to induce improvements in the nation’s trade balance or earnings of foreign currencies.

Arkebe with Bloomberg journalists, (Credit: Bloomberg TV)

Arkebe with Bloomberg journalists, (Credit: Bloomberg TV)

Even at this stage, these and other facts and realities have not tempered the propaganda campaign from Hong Kong by Arkebe Oqubay. He sounded as if he were on a steroid, which led one of my good friends who watched him on Bloomberg TV to suggest the man looked younger than his eldest son, possibly fully groomed (hair and face) at TimeOutHongKong.

As the adviser to the man in the Ethiopian prime minister’s office on behalf of the TPLF, the real ruling party in Ethiopia, Arkebe Okubay all the more bedecked his baseless lies on planning targets and numbers that already seem to tramp on the worn out paths of false claims, as if it would become reality.

He was asked a good question by Bloomberg journalists, who equally wondered whether it is government investments that would have Ethiopia at this time claim to attain double-digit growth targets? Or if it were the unmitigated flow of financing from China that has filled the former guerrilla fighter with such bubbling confidence about Ethiopia’s growth prospects in the coming year and beyond.

His answer to that question proved the point of his failure. It was the same old story all over again, i.e., “it is primarily the investments in productive sectors of the economy that thriving [sic] the economy at 11 percent growth for the past 12 years.”

We have heard of this since the days of collaboration in 2012 between dictator Meles Zenawi and Chinese economist Prof Justin Yifu Lin – the father of New Structural Economics – before and after his retirement from his post as vice-president of the World Bank.

Even there, Bloomberg journalists repeatedly spoke of 8 percent growth for Ethiopia as best number they accept, while the TPLF man was trying his hand to have them say after him his 11 percent consistent growths they propagate in Ethiopia.

As far as the future is concerned, Arkebe spoke about the shift from agriculture by 2025 to manufacturing with investments from a number of countries, including the United States. For all we know, the US is more in power sector, not textiles.

Again, the effort by Arkebe was to get acceptance that the growth target in future would also be on annual basis 11 percent – so to say, until the end of mankind and civilization, as if they have fixation on that number! Until then, rest assured the TPLF is bold telling exports in Ethiopia would grow by 30 percent, manufacturing by 25 percent and GDP by 11 percent annually, even when the conditions do not exist for it – a time when the regime’s continued survival itself is under severe stress.

On thing completely ignored in Arkebe’s enthusiastic claim is the fact of Ethiopia’s economy being a ‘superman’. At its double-digit presumed sustained growth, it has become impermeable to persistent and consistent downtime of electricity, water shortages, workers’ deliberate slowdowns in factories and industries, popular anger in most parts of the country and most of all the corruption. For now, Oromia, Omo Valley, Gambella, Amhara, and Afar have drawn particular national and international attention, although the crisis is showing signs of spreading all over in response to TPLF violence against the people and its robberies.

As I described in my tweet today about Arkebe’s fat lies, they seem to speak of an economy for which no parallel exists on this planet, for successfully by passing all obstacles and in achieving double-digit growths!

Arkebe also claimed that the TPLF is now “building world class echo industrial park”, whose earnings would be about a billion dollars a year. Yes, that is the route Ethiopia could have gone, were it not TPLF’s brutal repressions and robberies. Unfortunately, these parks would be built in Addis Abeba, Bahir Dar, Hawassa, and elsewhere, according to the September 2015 draft of the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II), on 700,000 hectares in the next five years, on lands robbed and to be robbed from citizens without recourse! Who wants such growths whose fruits are exclusively for TPLF mafia in power.

This is the real making of instability in Ethiopia, riding on the back of more popular anger and ore uprisings, of the type we have seen in Oromia for the past four months, in Omo Valley, Gambella, Afar, and etc., building up through the years.

Continuing Oromia protests (Credit: Continuing Oromia protests: An 8th grader shot on March 17 in Arsi and during arrest of seven students in Nekempte’s New Generation University on the same day [(Credit: /caption]

A question was asked by Bloomberg journalists, if the TPLF has had any noticed any cooling of the crisis in Oromia. As usual, the TPLF man said it was “a temporary phenomena”, as if the daily killings in some of those regions and the occasional fires in Afar that continue to claim lives do not matter. His delusion came out clear, when he took a sense of comfort in uttering the words the Oromia crisis would not affect the TPLF’s economic policies and objectives!

Of course, dreams are free for everyone; if unrealistic they could primarily create crisis of confidence in the population. In that regard, Arkebe’s crisis has likened him to sounding an over-enthusiastic schoolboy in claiming to make Ethiopia one of the globe’s “key players in mitigating consequences of climate change and building climate-resilient agriculture”!

To his disappointment, the world knows all about it, if one consults the documents of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Horrid stories we hear from horticultural farms, leather and textile factories, foundries, abattoirs and mining sections of the country, especially Al Amoudi’s gold mines in Oromia region, in southern Ethiopia, is that rivers and lakes have been polluted and people are getting sick with cancer and other diseases. Over 60 percent of children in Addis Abeba are in ill-health because of pollution, according to UNEP-Arendal, the consequences of which is also becoming severe danger to adults and the nation at large.

In the face of this, the TPLF has opted to silence – through the violent crime of involuntary disappearances – against those who speak out about the dangers of environmental pollution as agitators working with ‘terrorists’ and Eritrea! That criminal is the regime running Ethiopia, as it is killing it on a gradual basis!

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