By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
Auditor-General Gemechu Dubiso has challenged every office and every powerful official over unauthorized expenditures, not following the nation’s financial regulations, some literally issuing tickets to collect unauthorized money, etc. This has put him into tension with everyone, from the top brass of the military to the secretive TPLF intelligence to the politicos and etc, irrespective of their ties and proximity to the center.
Of his latest shocking findings of the AG and his staff, The Reporter highlights the patriotism and ordeals of the person uncovering robberies of the nation’s resources in the following words. This time he has focused on what is happening to Ethiopia’s import and export goods at the Djibouti Port:
“Ten missing cars and more than two billion birr unaccounted for. Lost, undocumented, misused, and damaged public properties. These were just some of the shocking facts revealed in the report of Gemechu Dubiso, Auditor General, on Tuesday in a presentation to Parliament. The concerns raised by Gemechu and the fact that it is getting from bad to worse had MPs irritated. Subsequently, MPs called for swift action, reports .”
He had confronted officials of the Ministry of Mines (MoM), accusing them of closing their eyes when unauthorized people rob the nation’s precious resources. The picture shows MoM officials frozen in parliament.
They dupe investors, so frequently that the TPLF boys themselves seem to believe in the ‘truth’ of what they say. There is no worse insanity than this! After all, who says a lie cannot become a national truth, when it is repeated and the country’s laws do not do anything to stop them.
Thus, these TPLF boys find the silence as their license to tell in private and public lies to the Ethiopian people and investors. As far as the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) is concerned, which in its nine-month performance has hardly done better than the first failed five-year plan.
The amazing thing is that the investor guests believe the lies of these TPLF boys, since they have their hearts and eyes on the profits they expect to rake in the new El Dorado, that is Ethiopia.
How many times have we heard MoI State Minister Tadesse Haile tell investors in front of the camera Ethiopia is the ‘only nation in the world with the cheapest electricity’ – just five US cents/per k/w? He does not mention even in the remotest ways possible that electricity in Ethiopia is mostly off than on. To make matters worse, there is no adequate supply of water.
How many textile factories and others did complain to the officials, including the prime minister, to no avail how they are becoming losers because their sophisticated machines are breaking due to the breakdowns. Just last September, in an article titled, This heartbreaking power outage!, The Reporter detailed:
“Nowadays, practically all local and foreign investors engaged in the manufacturing sector are complaining that the persistent power outage, coupled with the inability of the national electricity supplier to meet the ever growing demand, is detrimentally affecting their operation by inducing a fall in output and an upsurge in wastage. They say that though they have resorted to using generators to maintain production levels, the extra cost they are incurring has led to a spike in production costs and thereby rendered them uncompetitive.”
In the above article, The Reporter cautioned the regime that it is naïve to expect a new crop of foreign investors to eye Ethiopia as an investment destination and face the same ordeal that those who have already invested here are undergoing without first improving the pitiful state of power supply.
At one point, when the debate about shortage and lack of good quality leather was discussed at a public meeting, MoI State Minister Tadesse Haile recommended Ethiopia to import leather! He has the same answer for the shortage and lack of good quality cotton in the country.
It is terrible that the country with sixth livestock population in the world and Africa’s first should import skins and hides. As far as cotton is concerned, of course, Ethiopia established Almicom in Tigray (Saudi/TPLF company) in 2001 on 21,000 hectares, near the Kaza River – an area well suited to cotton irrigation. However, this or the others that followed it did not stop the problem of cotton shortages in Ethiopia.
In October 2015, when I studied these problems lying on Ethiopia was 100,000 hectares of land was under cotton. And yet a decade and a half later, Ethiopia is still short of cotton. I recall writing at the time: “Industry State Minister Tadesse Haile, a person given to spinning data and fostering optimism in the face of all obstacles, is an official who lacks eyes to policy problems or any of the shortages, which are grinding the industry to substantially below quality production.”
This article is written, after being angered by what the Arkebe Oqubyas of this world are doing to our country.
For example, I just read, news story about DBL, a Bangladeshi company, which has finalized everything to invest $100 million to set up garment factor in Ethiopia. What does the company get?
Firstly of the total investment of $100 million it puts, $55 million is taken as loan from the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE). Management of the factory would be in the hands of 150 Bengalis, which means there is no spin off in terms of transfer of know how, eg. management!
The company will enjoy duty free benefit in the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The humiliation to Ethiopians is clearer even to The Daily Star journalist writing the story. The cynicism of the new investor is made clear in the statement of one of its officials who said:
- “The new factory will go into production in February next year. We expect to employ 3,500 workers. Of them, 150 will be employed as executives — all from Bangladesh”.
As if that is not enough, the DBL official adds: “We are going to Ethiopia as this African nation enjoys zero-duty benefits from the United States on exports. The benefits will continue for a long time as Ethiopia is a member of the least developed countries”.
Of course, the Bengalis must find every means to keep Ethiopia an LDC – a least developed country.
What is the benefit for Ethiopia, in such a condition where even the employment opportunity for our people is not that significant.
The integrated textile and garment factory, would be built – says the DBL official – in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. This must have been negotiated with the ethnic politicians such as Arkebe Oqubay and the TPLF boys at MoI Mebrahtu Meles and Tadesse Haile.
The most resistance the Auditor-General’s Office faced to date also came from these MoI officials, in particular State Ministers Tadesse Haile and Mebrahtu Meles (PhD). They have finally managed to suck in Minister Ahmed Abitew to their side on a matter even the TPLF parliament has taken position against.
The matter has now been referred to the prime minister, according to The Reporter. Nevertheless, the legal implications of such a move to the fable in Ethiopia of the separation of powers aside, if the past is any guide, the PM would stand with the TPLF boys’. Recall that he took the step of disallowing the Office of the Auditor-General to any more look into the books of the defense ministry and intelligence bodies!
Why do these people boys love to be above the law, only to lead our country into the doldrums?