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Helen Epstein’s The Mass Murder We Don’t Talk About

27 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Judi Rever, In Praise of Blood: The Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (In The New York Review of Books)

Rwandan president Paul Kagame receiving the Pearl of Africa Medal from Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, Kapchorwa District, Uganda, 2012 (Ronald Kabuui/AFP/Getty Images)

During the 1990s, unprecedented violence erupted in Central Africa. In Sudan, the civil war intensified; in Rwanda, there was genocide; in Congo millions died in a conflict that simmers to this day; and in Uganda, millions more were caught between a heartless warlord and an even more heartless military counterinsurgency.

This wasn’t supposed to happen. Although the US had for decades backed dictatorships and right-wing rebels across the continent, George H.W. Bush had declared in his 1989 inaugural speech that “a new breeze [was] blowing…. For in man’s heart, if not in fact, the day of the dictator is over. The totalitarian era is passing…. Great nations of the world are moving toward democracy through the door to freedom.”

Bush and his successors supported peace on much of the African continent by funding democracy promotion programs and sanctioning, or threatening to sanction, South Africa and other countries if their leaders didn’t allow multiparty elections and free political prisoners. But in Uganda, Ethiopia, and a small number of other countries, the Bush and Clinton administrations lavished development and military aid on dictators who in turn funneled weapons to insurgents in Sudan, Rwanda, and Congo. In this way, Washington helped stoke the interlinked disasters that have claimed millions of lives since the late 1980s and still roil much of eastern and central Africa today. The complicity of the US in those disasters has not yet been sufficiently exposed, but Judi Rever’s In Praise of Blood explores how Washington helped obscure the full story of the genocide that devastated Rwanda during the 1990s and cover up the crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which has ruled the country ever since.

The familiar story about the Rwandan genocide begins in April 1994, when Hutu militias killed hundreds of thousands of Tutsis, mostly with machetes and other simple weapons. The RPF, a Tutsi-dominated rebel army, advanced through the mayhem and finally brought peace to the country in July. The RPF’s leader, Paul Kagame, eventually became president of Rwanda and remains in power today. He has overseen a technocratic economic revival, the installation of one of the best information technology networks in Africa, and a sharp decline in maternal and child mortality. Political dissent is suppressed, many of Kagame’s critics are in jail, and some have even been killed—but his Western admirers tend to overlook this. Bill Clinton has praised Kagame as “one of the greatest leaders of our time,” and Tony Blair’s nonprofit Institute for Global Change continues to advise and support his government.

Over the years, less valiant portraits of Kagame and the RPF have appeared in academic monographs and self-published accounts by Western and Rwandan academics, journalists, and independent researchers, including Filip Reyntjens, André Guichaoua, Edward Herman, Robin Philpot, David Himbara, Gérard Prunier, Barrie Collins, and the BBC’s Jane Corbin. Taken together, they suggest that the RPF actually provoked the war that led to the genocide of the Tutsis and committed mass killings of Hutus before, during, and after it. In Praise of Blood is the most accessible and up-to-date of these studies.

Rever’s account begins in October 1990, when several thousand RPF fighters invaded Rwanda from neighboring Uganda. The RPF was made up of refugees born to Rwandan parents who fled anti-Tutsi pogroms during the early 1960s and were determined to go home. Its leaders, including Kagame, had fought alongside Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni in the war that brought him to power in 1986. They’d then been appointed to senior Ugandan army positions—Kagame was Museveni’s chief of military intelligence in the late 1980s—which they deserted when they invaded Rwanda.

In August 1990, two months before the RPF invasion, the Hutu-dominated Rwandan government had actually agreed, in principle, to allow the refugees to return. The decision had been taken under enormous international pressure, the details were vague, and the process would likely have dragged on, or not occurred at all. But the RPFinvasion preempted a potentially peaceful solution to the refugee conundrum. For three and a half years, the rebels occupied a large swath of northern Rwanda while the Ugandan army supplied them with weapons, in violation of the UN Charter and Organization of African Unity rules. Washington knew what was going on but did nothing to stop it. On the contrary, US foreign aid to Uganda doubled in the years after the invasion, and in 1991, Uganda purchased ten times more US weapons than in the preceding forty years combined.

During the occupation, roughly a million Hutu peasants fled RPF-controlled areas, citing killings, abductions, and other crimes. An Italian missionary working in the area at the time told Rever that the RPF laid landmines around springs that blew up children, and invaded a hospital in a town called Nyarurema and shot nine patients dead. According to Alphonse Furuma, one of the founders of the RPF, the purpose was to clear the area, steal animals, take over farms, and, presumably, scare away anyone who might think of protesting. The Ugandan army, which trained the RPF, had used similar tactics against its own Acholi people during the 1980s and 1990s, so these accounts seem plausible.

At least one American was angry about the RPF invasion. US ambassador to Rwanda Robert Flaten witnessed how it sent shock waves throughout the country, whose majority-Hutu population had long feared a Tutsi attack from Uganda. Flaten urged the Bush administration to impose sanctions on Uganda for supplying the RPF, noting that Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait only two months earlier and been met with near-universal condemnation, a UN Security Council demand that he withdraw, and a US military assault.

By contrast, the Bush administration, which was then supplying most of Uganda’s budget through foreign aid, treated the RPF invasion of Rwanda with nonchalance. When it took place, Museveni happened to be visiting the US. He assured State Department officials that he’d known nothing about it, and promised to prevent weapons from crossing the border and court-martial any defectors who attempted to return to Uganda. He then did neither, with the apparent approval of US diplomats. In 1991 and 1992 US officials met RPF leaders inside Uganda and monitored the flow of weapons across the border, but made no effort to stop it, even when the Rwandan government and its French allies complained.

Years later, Bush’s assistant secretary of state for Africa Herman Cohen expressed regret for failing to pressure Museveni to stop supporting the RPF, but by then it was too late. At the time, Cohen maintained that the US feared that sanctions might harm Uganda’s robust economic growth. But he hasn’t explained why Washington allowed the RPF—by invading Rwanda—to ruin that country’s economy, which had previously been similarly robust. Robert Gribbin, a diplomat then stationed at the US embassy in Kampala, has claimed that sanctions weren’t considered because they might have interfered with Uganda’s “nascent democratic initiatives,” without mentioning that Museveni’s security forces were torturing and jailing members of Uganda’s nonviolent opposition and also pursuing a brutal counterinsurgency in northern Uganda that would claim hundreds of thousands of Ugandan lives.

The UN may also have turned a blind eye to Museveni and Kagame’s schemes. In October 1993 a contingent of UN peacekeepers was deployed to help implement a peace agreement between the RPF and the Rwandan government. One of its mandates was to ensure that weapons, personnel, and supplies didn’t cross into Rwanda from Uganda. But when the peacekeepers’ commander, Canadian general Roméo Dallaire, visited the Ugandan border town of Kabale, a Ugandan officer told him that his peacekeepers would have to provide twelve hours’ notice so that escorts could be arranged to accompany them on patrols. Dallaire protested, since the element of surprise is crucial for such monitoring missions. The Ugandans stood their ground, and also refused to allow Dallaire to inspect an arsenal in Mbarara, a Ugandan town about eighty miles from the Rwandan border, which was rumored to be supplying the RPF.

Dallaire has not said whether he brought Uganda’s obstruction to the attention of the Security Council, and he didn’t respond to my interview requests. But in 2004 he told a US congressional hearing that Museveni laughed in his face when they met at a gathering to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the genocide. “I remember that UN mission on the border,” Dallaire said Museveni had told him. “We maneuvered ways to get around it, and of course we did support the movement [i.e., the RPF invasion].”

The likely reasons why Washington and the UN apparently decided to go easy on Uganda and the RPF will be explored in the second part of this article. But for Rwanda’s President Juvénal Habyarimana and his circle of Hutu elites, the invasion seems to have had a silver lining. For years, tensions between Hutus and Tutsis inside Rwanda had been subsiding. Habyarimana had sought reconciliation with Tutsis living in Rwanda—so-called internal Tutsis—by reserving civil service jobs and university places for them in proportion to their share of the population. Though desultory, this program was modestly successful, and the greatest rift in the country was between the relatively small Hutu clique around Habyarimana and the millions of impoverished Hutu peasants whom they exploited as brutally as had the Tutsi overlords of bygone days. While the elites fattened themselves on World Bank “anti-poverty” projects that created lucrative administrative jobs and other perks but did little to alleviate poverty, they continued to subject the Hutu poor to forced labor and other abuses.

Habyarimana, like the leaders of Malawi, Ghana, Zambia, and other countries, was under pressure from the US and other donors to allow opposition parties to operate. Many of these new parties were ethnically mixed, with both Hutu and Tutsi leaders, but they were united in criticizing Habyarimana’s autocratic behavior and nepotism and the vast economic inequalities in the country.

The RPF invasion seems to have provided Habyarimana and his circle with a political opportunity: now they could distract the disaffected Hutu masses from their own abuses by reawakening fears of the “demon Tutsis.” Shortly after the invasion, Hutu elites devised a genocidal propaganda campaign that would bear hideous fruit three and a half years later. Chauvinist Hutu newspapers, magazines, and radio programs reminded readers that Hutus were the original occupants of the Great Lakes region and that Tutsis were Nilotics—supposedly warlike pastoralists from Ethiopia who had conquered and enslaved Hutus in the seventeenth century. The RPF invasion, they claimed, was nothing more than a plot by Museveni, Kagame, and their Tutsi coconspirators to reestablish this evil Nilotic empire. Cartoons of Tutsis killing Hutus began appearing in magazines, along with warnings that all Tutsis were RPF spies bent on dragging the country back to the days when the Tutsi queen supposedly rose from her seat supported by swords driven between the shoulders of Hutu children.

In February 1993 an RPF offensive killed hundreds, perhaps thousands of Hutus in the northern prefectures of Byumba and Ruhengeri, further inflaming anti-Tutsi sentiment. At the time, the Organization of African Unity was overseeing peace negotiations between the RPF and the government, but the process was fraught. Habyarimana knew the RPF was better armed, trained, and disciplined than his own army, so under immense international pressure he agreed in August 1993 to a peace accord that would grant the RPF seats in a transitional government and nearly half of all posts in the army.

Even Tutsis inside Rwanda were against giving the RPF so much power because they knew it would provoke the angry, fearful Hutus to rebel, and they were right. Hutu mayors and other local officials were already stockpiling rifles, and government-linked anti-Tutsi militia groups (including the notorious Interahamwe) were distributing machetes and kerosene to prospective génocidaires. In December 1993, a picture of a machete appeared on the front page of one Hutu-chauvinist publication under the headline “What Weapons Can We Use to Defeat the Inyenzi [Tutsi Cockroaches] Once and For All?” The following month, the CIA predicted that if tensions were not somehow defused, hundreds of thousands of people might die in ethnic violence. This powder keg exploded four months later, when on April 6, 1994, a plane carrying Habyarimana was shot down as it was preparing to land in Kigali, the capital.

The French sociologist André Guichaoua happened to be in Kigali that evening. The country was tense, but peaceful. But Hutu military personnel panicked when they heard about the crash. That night they began hastily erecting roadblocks around government and army installations, while militiamen, many from the presidential guard, began moving into position. The killing of Tutsis began the following afternoon. According to Guichaoua, Tutsis suspected of collaboration with the RPF, which the killers blamed for the plane crash, were sought out first, but soon the militias were killing every Tutsi they could get their hands on. The vast majority of the victims would turn out to be internal Tutsis, who had nothing to do with the RPF.

Scott Peterson/Liaison/Getty Images

Rwandan Patriotic Front soldiers preparing to march into Kigali, Rwanda, 1994

For decades, blame for the plane crash that set off the genocide has fallen on members of Habyarimana’s army who were believed to be unhappy about the terms of the August 1993 peace accord. However, a growing number of academic studies, judicial reports, and other investigations now suggest RPF responsibility. They are based on eyewitness testimony from multiple RPF defectors who say they were involved in the planning and execution of the plot, as well as evidence concerning the origin of the missiles.

It’s unclear what motive the RPF would have had for shooting down the plane, but it may have wanted to ignite a war in order to abrogate the August accord, which called for elections twenty-two months after implementation. The RPF, dominated by the unpopular minority Tutsis and widely hated for its militancy, including by many internal Tutsis, would certainly have lost.

The RPF began advancing almost as soon as the plane hit the ground, and even before the genocide of the Tutsis had begun. According to Rever, the rebels actually made the situation worse. While Hutus were massacring innocent Tutsis, the RPF was further inciting ethnic hatred by massacring innocent Hutus. In mid-April RPF officers assembled some three thousand Hutu villagers in a stadium in Byumba and slaughtered virtually all of them. In June RPF soldiers attacked a seminary in Gitarama, killing several Hutu priests, and then, according to a four-hundred-page report compiled by a respected priest and human-rights activist named André Sibomana, proceeded to massacre roughly 18,000 others in the prefecture.

RPF defectors told Rever that the purpose of these mass killings was to strike fear in the Hutu population and provoke them to escalate the genocide into such a horrific crime that no political compromise with the former leaders would ever be possible. The August 1993 peace accord would then be irrelevant, and the population would have no choice but to accept an RPF takeover.

Some RPF operatives told Rever that they had even infiltrated Hutu militia groups to stoke ethnic anger and incite ever more indiscriminate reprisals against Tutsis. Again, this seems plausible to me. Kagame and other RPF commanders may have learned such strategies in Uganda while fighting alongside Museveni, whose rebel army reportedly committed similar “false flag” operations in the 1980s. After the genocide, war broke out in neighboring Zaire, as Congo was then known. When assailants killed hundreds of Congolese Tutsi refugees inside Rwanda in December 1997, US officials, Amnesty International, and The New York Times all blamed Hutu insurgents, but RPF sources told Rever that they themselves had done it. “Everyone knew that the RPF staged that attack. It was common knowledge in intelligence circles,” a former RPF officer told Rever. It was a “brilliant and cruel display of military theater,” said another.

Dallaire, the commander of the peacekeepers, remained in Rwanda during the genocide. In his harrowing memoir, Shake Hands with the Devil, he expresses puzzlement about the RPF’s troop movements. Rather than heading south, where most of the killings of Tutsis were taking place, the RPF circled around Kigali. When Dallaire met Kagame at the latter’s headquarters, he asked him why. “He knew full well that every day of fighting on the periphery meant certain death for Tutsis still behind [Rwandan government] lines,” Dallaire writes. Kagame “ignored the implications of my question.” By the time the RPF reached the capital weeks later, most of the Tutsis there were dead.

In May 1994, while supplies continued to flow to the RPF from Uganda, the UN placed the Rwandan government army, some of whose soldiers had participated in massacres of the Tutsis, under an arms embargo. By the end of July, the much stronger RPF had taken control of nearly all of the now ruined country. As it advanced, some two million Hutus fled, either to the giant Kibeho camp in southwestern Rwanda or to camps over the border in Tanzania and Zaire. Some Hutus returned home in the fall of 1994, but according to a UN report prepared by the human rights investigator Robert Gersony, many of them were killed by the RPF, either on suspicion of sympathy with revanchist Hutu militants or simply to terrify others.* These killings stopped during the run-up to a donor meeting in Geneva in January 1995, but then resumed after $530 million in aid was pledged.

Hutus once again fled to Kibeho, where they thought they would be protected by UN peacekeepers. But in April 1995 the RPF fired on the camp and then stormed it while helpless aid workers and UN troops, under orders to obey the RPF, stood by. At least four thousand Hutus, probably more, were killed, including numerous women and children. Thomas Odom, a retired US army colonel stationed at the embassy in Kigali, blamed the killings on Hutu instigators within the refugee population who, he says, stirred up the crowds, provoking panicked RPF soldiers to shoot. Several eyewitnesses dispute this.

In the enormous refugee camps in Zaire, Hutu militants—many of whom had participated in the genocide—began mobilizing to retake the country and launched sporadic attacks inside Rwanda. The RPF’s reaction was fierce, swift, and cruel. Hutu villagers who had nothing to do with the militants were invited to peace-and-reconciliation meetings, then shot point-blank or beaten to death with garden hoes. In 1997, thousands of Hutus fleeing indiscriminate RPF reprisals sought refuge in caves near the Virunga Mountains, where they were trapped and killed by RPF soldiers. Thousands more were killed in the environs of the town of Mahoko around the same time.

In order to neutralize the mounting threat from the Zairean refugee camps, the RPFcrossed the border in 1996, invaded them, and herded most of the refugees home. But hundreds of thousands refused to return to Rwanda and fled deeper into Zaire. Some were ex-génocidaires and other Hutu militants, but most were ordinary Hutus understandably terrified of the RPF. Kagame’s commandos, who had by then received training from US Special Forces, tracked them down in towns and villages across the country and killed them. Hundreds of thousands remain unaccounted for.

To hunt down fleeing Hutus, RPF spies deployed satellite equipment provided by the US. The RPF also infiltrated the UN refugee agency and used its vehicles and communications equipment. US officials insisted that all the fleeing refugees were Hutu génocidaires and downplayed the number of genuine refugees identified by their own aerial studies, but in 1997 Rever, then a young reporter for Radio France Internationale, trekked through the forest and found vast encampments of malnourished women and children. She interviewed a woman who had seen her entire family shot dead by Kagame’s soldiers, a boy whose father had drowned while fleeing the RPF, and aid workers who told her they had seen mass graves that were too dangerous to visit because they were being guarded by Kagame’s soldiers.

Versions of Rever’s story have been told by others. While all contain convincing evidence against the RPF, some are marred by a tendency to understate the crimes of the Hutu génocidaires or overstate the RPF’s crimes. But some, including the work of Filip Reyntjens, a Belgian professor of law and politics, have been both measured and soundly researched. Kagame’s regime and its defenders have dismissed them all as propaganda spouted by defeated Hutu génocidaires and genocide deniers. But Rever’s account will prove difficult to challenge. She has been writing about Central Africa for more than twenty years, and her book draws on the reports of UN experts and human rights investigators, leaked documents from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and hundreds of interviews with eyewitnesses, including victims, RPF defectors, priests, aid workers, and officials from the UN and Western governments. Her sources are too numerous and their observations too consistent for her findings to be a fabrication.

The official UN definition of genocide is not restricted to attempts to eradicate a particular ethnic group. It includes “killings…with the intent to destroy, in whole, or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” (my emphasis). The RPF’s operations against the Hutus in the Byumba stadium, in Gitarama, Kibeho, the caves near Virunga, around Mahoko, and in the forests of Zaire do seem to fit that description. The RPF’s aim was, presumably, not to eradicate the Hutus but to frighten them into submission.

And yet in January, the UN officially recognized April 7 as an International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsis—only the Tutsis. That is how the conflagration in Rwanda is generally viewed. And while the French army has been accused of supplying the Rwandan government with weapons during the genocide, US officials have faced no scrutiny for lavishing aid on Uganda’s Museveni while he armed the RPF in violation of international treaties and the August 1993 peace accord. Why have international observers overlooked the other side of this story for so long? And why are the RPF’s crimes so little known outside of specialist circles? That will be the subject of the second part of this article.

*After the genocide, numerous human rights reports described the ongoing killing of Hutus inside Rwanda. Gersony’s concluded that after the genocide officially ended, the RPF killed over 25,000 civilians, most of them Hutus, inside Rwanda, as well as two Canadian priests, two Spanish priests, a Croatian priest, three Spanish NGO volunteers, and a Belgian school director who attempted to report on RPF atrocities. Gersony submitted his report to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, who passed it on to UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan, who decided to delay its release. Timothy Wirth, then US undersecretary of state for global affairs, met Gersony in Kigali and said the findings were “compelling.” But at a briefing back in Washington, he downplayed the report, claiming the author had been misled by his informants. Wirth admitted the RPF had killed people, but said it wasn’t “systematic.”

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ሜቴክና የሕወሃት ዓላማ — የነአዜብ መሥፍንና አስመላሽ ወልደሥላሴ በቦርድ አባልነት — አስገራሚው ሹመት!

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ዶ/ር መረራ ጉዲና ቃለ መጠይቅ:            የዶር ዐቢይ አሕመድ 50ኛ ቀን እንዴት ያዩታል? — የፖለቲካ እሥረኞች በሙሉ አለመፈታትና የአሰቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ አለመነሳት ለዴሞክራት ጠ/ሚ ጥሩ ምልክት አይደለም!

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===============

“ኢኮኖሚው በቂ የውጭ ምንዛሪና የሥራ ዕድል መፍጠር ካልቻለ ስትራቴጂን በመፈተሽ የፖሊሲ ማሻሻያ ማድረግ ጊዜ የማይሰጠው ሥራ መሆን አለበት”

ኢዮብ ተስፋዬ (ዶ/ር)፣ የማክሮ ኢኮኖሚ ባለሙያ

ኢዮብ ተስፋዬ (ዶ/ር): ሪፖርተር ፎቶ

በኢኮሚክስ ሙያ መስክ የካበተ ልምድና ተሞክሮ ያላቸውና በማክሮ ኢኮኖሚ ባለሙያነታቸው የሚታወቁት ኢዮብ ተስፋዬ (ዶ/ር)፣ በፋይናስ መስክም የዓመታት ልምድና ዕውቀቱ አላቸው፡፡ ኢኮኖሚስቱ ከሪፖርተር ጋር ባደረጉት ቆይታ ከመንግሥት የአምስት ዓመቱ ዕቅዶች አፈጻጸም ጀምሮ ስለዋጋ ግሽበት፣ ስለውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረትና መንግሥት የምንዛሪ ተመን ማሻሻያ እንዲያውጅ ስለተገደደባቸው ችግሮች፣ በግብርናና በኢንዱስትሪ መካከል እንዲኖር ይገባው ስለነበረው ትስስር፣ የመንግሥት በኢኮኖሚው ውስጥ መሪም የበላይም ሆኖ ስለዘለቀባቸው ምክንያቶችና ሌሎችም መሠረታዊ ኢኮኖሚያዊ ጉዳዮች ላይ ያላቸውን ሙያዊ እሳቤና ትንታኔ ሰጥተዋል፡፡ በዚህ ቃለ ምልልስ የተንፀባረቀው ሐሳብ በግላቸው የሰጡት እንጂ፣ የሚሠሩበትን ተቋምም ሆነ ተቋማት እንደማይወክል በማሳሰብ ለቀረቡላቸው ጥያቄዎች የሰጧቸው ትንታኔዎች እንደሚከተለው ተጠናክረዋል፡፡ 

ሪፖርተር፡- መንግሥት የሚከተለው የልማታዊ መንግሥት አካሄድ የግል ዘርፉን አዳክሟል፣ ድህነትን በበቂ ሁኔታ የሚቀንስ የሥራ ዕድል አልፈጠረም የሚሉ ወገኖች አሉ፡፡ በዚህ ላይ ምን አስተያየት አለዎት?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- በማንኛውም አገር ውስጥ መንግሥት ኢኮኖሚውን የመምራትና የማሳደግ ሚና አለው፡፡ መንግሥት በኢኮኖሚው ውስጥ ያለውን ሚና የሚወስነው ኢኮኖሚው የሚገኝበት ደረጃ ነው፡፡ በዓለም ላይ የሚገኙ ሁሉም መንግሥታት የመሪነት ሚና ይዘው ነው ለኢኮኖሚያቸው ማደግ መሠረት የጣሉት፡፡ ወደ ኢትዮጵያ ስንመጣ አገሪቱ ሰፊ የልማት ጉድለት ካለባቸው አገሮች ውስጥ ትመደባለች፡፡ በተለያዩ የመንግሥት ሥርዓቶች ወቅት ሥር የሰደደው የሕዝብ ድህነት ሊቀንስ አልቻለም፡፡ ይህ መንግሥት ግን በመጀመሪያዎቹ አሥራ አምስት ዓመታት ውስጥ የተከተለው ደሃ ተኮር የተባለው ስትራቴጂ ድህነትን ከመቅረፍና የኢኮኖሚ መዋቅራዊ ትራንስፎርሜሽን ከማምጣት አኳያ አቅሙ ደካማ ነበር፡፡ መንግሥት አሁን እየተከተለ ያለው የልማታዊ መንግሥት አካሄድ እንደ ስትራቴጂ ሲታይ ትክክልና ተገቢነት ያለው ነው፡፡ ምክንያቱም ስትራቴጂው ድህነትን ለመቀነስና ጠንካራ አቅም ያለው ኢንዱስትሪ ለመፍጠር በማቀዱ ነው፡፡ በእርግጥ አከራካሪ ሊሆን የሚችለውና እየሆነ የመጣውም የመንግሥት የመሪነት ሚና እስከ ምን ይዘልቃል? የግሉ ዘርፍ ማዕከላዊ ሥፍራውን የሚይዘው መቼ ነው? መቼ ነው መንግሥት የመሪነት ቦታውን ለቆ የደጋፊነት ሚና ላይ የሚያተኩረው? የሚሉት ጥያቄዎች ስለሚነሱ ነው፡፡ ከዚህ ውጭ ነፃ የገበያ ኢኮኖሚ ሥርዓት እንከተል ቢባል፣ መጀመሪያ ገበያው መኖር አለበት፡፡ በሁለተኛ ደረጃ ገበያውን የሚያንቀሳቅሰው የገበያ ኃይል ወይም የግሉ ዘርፍ መኖር አለበት፡፡ ነፃ የገበያ ሥርዓት ለመፍጠር ምርትና የልማት ምሰሶዎች በሌሉበት ገበያ እንፍጠር ማለት ‘መጀመርያ ተኩስ ከዚያ ዒላማህን ፈልግ’ (First shoot then find the target) እንደ ማለት ነው፡፡ ሌላው ስትራቴጂው ድህነትን የሚቀንስ አይደለም ከተባለ፣ ነፃ ገበያ በሌለበት ከዚህ የተሻለ ስትራቴጂ ምን አለና ነው? የሚል ጥያቄ ያመጣል፡፡ መንገድ፣ የኤሌክትሪክ ኃይል አቅርቦት፣ ትምህርት ቤትና የመሳሰሉት ድህነትን ለመቀነስ ወሳኝ ሚና ያላቸውን የመሠረተ ልማት ግንባታዎች የግሉ ዘርፍ ሳይሆን መንግሥት የሚገነባቸው ናቸው፡፡ ስለዚህ ስትራቴጂ ድህነትን ከመቀነስ አኳያ ውጤት የለውም ማለት በንድፈ ሐሳብም ሆነ በእውነታ ደረጃ ሲታይ አያስኬድም፡፡ ከልማት ስትራቴጂው ውጪ የሚቀር ነገር ቢኖር ‘የተራበን አጉርሱ፣ የታረዘን አልብሱ’ የሚለው የእማሆይ ቴሬዛ ስትራቴጂ ነው፡፡ ይህ ደግሞ ከሞራል አኳያ ካልሆነ አዋጭ የድህነት መቀነሻ ዘዴ አይደለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የመጀመሪያው የዕድገትና ትራንስፎርሜሽን ዕቅድ አፈጻጸም እንደተጠበቀው አልሆነም፡፡ የሁለተኛው ዕቅድም እንደታሰበው ይፈጸማል ተብሎ አይጠበቅም፡፡ በአጠቃላይ በዕቅዶቹ ላይ ምን ዓይነት አስተያየት አለዎት?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- ይህንን ጥያቄ በተሻለ ሊመልሱ የሚችሉት ዕቅዱን እንዲያስፈጽሙና እንዲከታተሉ የተሰየሙ ሰዎች ናቸው፡፡ መረጃውም ስለሌለኝ ስለአፈጻጸሙ መናገር አልችልም፡፡ ሆኖም በዕቅዶቹ ላይ የተወሰኑ ነጥቦችን ማንሳት ይቻላል፡፡ በመጀመሪያው የዕድገትና ትራንስፎርሜሽን ዕቅድ ተወጥነው የተሳኩ፣ በሁለተኛውም ዕቅድ እንደዚሁ የተገነቡና ወደ ሥራ የገቡ በዓይን የሚታዩ ተጨባጭ ነገሮች አሉ፡፡ ስላልተሳኩት ወይም በተለየ መንገድ ቢፈጸሙ ይሻል ነበር ስለመባሉ የዕቅዱ ክፍሎችና አፈጻጸማቸው መናገር ይችላሉ፡፡ አንድን ስትራቴጂ ስትከተል ወሳኙ ነገር ስትራቴጂውን ወደ ዕቅድነት፣ ዕቅዱንም ወደ ፕሮግራምነት፣ ፕሮግራሙን ወደ ፕሮጀክትነት የሚለውጥ የማስፈጸም አቅምና አደረጃጀት ሊኖርህ ይገባል፡፡ ፕሮጀክቶቹም በተመደበላቸው በጀትና በተቀመጠላቸው የጊዜ ገደብ ውስጥ ሊጠናቀቁ እንደሚችሉ ማረጋገጫ የሚሰጥ የቁጥጥርና የክትትል ሥልት ሊኖርህ ይገባል፡፡ ለፕሮጀክቶቹ ማስፈጸሚያነት የሚውል በቂ የገንዘብ ምንጭም ሊኖር ይገባል፡፡ እንግዲህ ይህን ስል የምትሠራቸውን ሥራዎች ቅደም ተከተል በመስጠት ዒላማ ብቻ ሳይሆን እንዴትና በማን፣ በምን ያህል ወጪ ይሠራሉ ብለህ በዝርዝር የማስፈጸሚያ ዕቅድ ሊኖርህ ይገባል፡፡ እስካሁን ያየናቸው የዕቅዶቹ ዳራዎች የሰፉ፣ የተለጠጡና አስተማማኝ የፋይናንስ ምንጭ ሳይኖር የታቀዱ፣ የፈጻሚዎቹ አቅምና አደረጃጀት ደካማ በሆነበትና ችላ በተባለበት ሁኔታ ውስጥ እንዲፈጸሙ የታሰቡ ናቸው፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ ፕሮጀክቶች በቅንነት ሊሳኩ ይችላሉ ተብለው የተጀመሩ ወይም የታቀዱ እንጂ፣ ውስጣዊና ውጫዊ የገንዘብም ሆነ የማስፈጸም አቅም ታይቶ የተጀመሩ ናቸው፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ አዋጭነታቸው በሚገባ ያልተፈተሹ ናቸው፡፡ በመሆኑም በመጀመሪያው ዕቅድ የታዩ ችግሮች አሁንም እየተንከባለሉ በመሄድ ላይ ይገኛሉ፡፡ ስለሁለተኛው ዕቅድ ካነሳን የፖለቲካ ቁርጠኝነት እንደ ቀድሞው ዕቅድ የሌለው፣ ችግሮችን ለመለየትና ለማወቅ ዕይታው ደካማ የሆነበት ነው፡፡ ምናልባት ሌሎች ጉዳዮች የአመራሩን ትኩረትና ጊዜ በመውሰዳቸው ይመስለኛል ይህ የሆነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በተሻለ ሁኔታ ቢፈጸሙ የበለጠ ውጤታማ ይሆኑ ነበር ስላሉት ነገር ቢያብራሩልን?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- የማስፈጸም፣ የመፈጸምና የመከታተል፣ በቂ የገንዘብ አቅም በሚገባ ባልተሟላበት ሁኔታ ውስጥ ነው በአንድ ጊዜ ግዙፍ ፕሮጀክቶች እንዲፈጸሙ የተፈለገው፡፡ ከዚህ ይልቅ አንዳንዶቹን ፕሮጀክቶች ልምድና አቅም ያላቸው የውጭ ድርጅቶች ቢያከናውኗቸው የአገር ውስጥ ኩባንያዎች ጎን ለጎን እየተማሩባቸው ዕውቀት እያገኙ ቢሄዱ፣ ሌሎቹን ፕሮጀክቶች ደግሞ የአገር ውስጥና የውጭ ኩባንያዎች በጥምረት ቢሠሯቸው፣ ወደፊት ዕውቀቱም ልምዱም ሲኖር የአገር ውስጥ ኩባንያዎች መሥራት ቢጀምሯቸው የተሻለ ይሆን ነበር፡፡ ይህ ግን በአገር ውስጥ አቅም የሚሠራው እየተሠራ ማለት ነው፡፡ በሁለተኛ ደረጃ ፕሮጀክቶቹን በአመዛኙ መሥራት የተፈለገው በብድር ገንዘብ ነው፡፡ የውጭ ኩባንያዎች ፋይናንስ አፈላልገው እንዲገቡ ነበር የተፈለገው፡፡ ይህ አካሄድ ግን አንደኛው አማራጭ እንጂ ብቸኛው አይደለም፡፡ አገሪቱ ዕዳ ሳይበዛባት በሌሎች የፋይናንስ ዘዴዎች ብዙ ፕሮጀክቶችን መገንባት ይቻል ነበር፡፡ ለምሳሌ በመንግሥትና በግሉ ዘርፍ አጋርነት ወይም ‹‹ፐብሊክ ፕራይቬት ፓርትነርነሺፕ›› በሚባለው፣ በእሽሙር ወይም በ‹‹ጆይንት ቬንቸር››፣ በ‹‹ቢዩልድ ኦፐሬት ትራንስፈር››፣ ወዘተ. በርካታ አማራጮች ነበሩ፡፡ በግብርናውም በኢንዱስትሪውም የአገር ውስጥ ባለሀብት እንዲሳተፍ በማበረታታት የተሻለ ውጤት ሊገኝ ይችል ነበር፡፡ ለአብነት ያህል ስለሰፋፊ እርሻዎች የተባለውን አካሄድ ተመልከት፡፡ ውጤቱ ዜሮ ነው፡፡ ጨርቃ ጨርቅ ዘርፉን ውሰድ፣ ስንቱ ፋብሪካ ተዘግቷል፡፡ እነዚህ በሙሉ የውጭው ባለሀብት ተዓምር ይሠራል ተብለው የተሰጡ ነበሩ፡፡ በግብርናና በኢንዱስትሪ ጥምረት የመፍጠር ሁናቴ በዕቅዶቹ ውስጥ ቢኖርም በተግባር የታየው ግን በጣም አናሳ እንቅስቃሴ ነው፡፡ የዕቅዶቹ ትኩረት መንገድ ከመዘርጋት፣ ግድብ ከመገንባት ባለፈ በሁለቱ ዘርፎች መካከል ጠንካራ ትስስር እንዲፈጠር ትኩረት መስጠት ተገቢ ይሆን ነበር፡፡ ኢንዱስትሪው ግብርናውን እያነሳ ካልሄደ የሚኖረው የኢንዱስትሪ ጉዞ አርቲፊሻል እንዳይሆን ያሠጋል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ሕዝቡ ስለሚያነሳው የዋጋ ግሽበት ጥያቄ እንነጋገር፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ በእርስዎ ዕይታ የዋጋ ግሽበት መቀስቀሱና ተባብሶ የመቀጠሉ መሠረታዊ ምክንያት ምንድነው? 

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- የዋጋ ግሽበቱ በተለይም በቋሚ ደመወዝና ጡረታ ገቢ የሚተዳደረውን የኅብረተሰብ ክፍል ክፉኛ እየተፈታተነው ይገኛል፡፡ መንግሥት የዋጋ ግሽበትን ለማለዘብ እየታገለ ቢሆንም ውጤቱ የተፈለገውን ያህል አልሆነም፡፡ በእኔ እምነት ለዋጋ ግሽበት መሠረታዊ ምንጩ የኢኮኖሚ ሞዴሉ ነው፡፡ ይህንን ላስረዳ፡፡ ለአንድ ኢኮኖሚ መነሻ መሠረቱ የመሠረተ ልማት መኖር ወይም መስፋፋት ነው፡፡ ኢኮኖሚስቶቹ ‹‹ካፒታል ፎርሜሽን›› ብለው ይጠሩታል፡፡ እነዚህ ለልማት ቁልፍ የሆኑ የመሠረተ ልማት ጉድለቶች ባሉባቸው የታዳጊ አገሮች እንደሚታየው መንግሥት ጉድለቱን ለመቀነስና ልማትን ለማፋጠን በታክስ፣ በብድር፣ በአገር ውስጥ ቁጠባ፣ በፕራይቬታይዜሽንና በሌሎችም መንገዶች የሚያገኘውን ገንዘብ (Marshaled Resources ይሏቸዋል) አሰባስቦ ልማት ላይ ለማዋል ሲነሳ፣ ያሰባሰበው ገንዘብ ከወጪው አንፃር ጉድለት ይኖረዋል፡፡ ይህንን ጉድለት ለመሙላት መንግሥት ፊቱን ወደ ማዕከላዊ ባንክ ያዞራል፡፡ ከማዕከላዊ ባንክ የተገኘ አዲስ ገንዘብ ወደ ኢኮኖሚው እንዲገባ ያደርጋል ወይም የበጀት ጉድለቱን ይሸፍንበታል፡፡ ይህ አካሄድ የበጀት ጉድለት ወይም ‘ዴፊሲት ፋይናንሲንግ’ ወይም ደግሞ ‘ኢንፍሌሽናሪ ፋይናንሲንግ’ ይባላል፡፡ መንግሥት በተለያየ መንገድ የሰበሰበው ገንዘብ በተወሰነ መልኩ ከማዕከላዊ ባንክ የተበደረው፣ እንዲሁም የግሉ ክፍለ ኢኮኖሚ ከባንኮች የሚበደረው ተጨምሮ፣ ከውጭ በብድርና በሐዋላ የሚገባው ገንዘብ በአንድ ላይ የገንዘብ አቅርቦቱን ያሳድገዋል፡፡ የዋጋ ግሽበት አባባሽ በሆነው ‘ዴፊሲት ፋይናንሲንግ’ ወይም ‘ኢንፍሌሽናሪ ፋይናንሲንግ’ እሳቤ መሠረት ፍላጎት ሲጨምር አቅርቦትም የሚጨምር በመሆኑ፣ የዋጋ ግሽበት የአጭር ጊዜ ክስተት ይሆናል፡፡ ሆኖም አቅርቦት አዝጋሚና ረዘም ያለ ጊዜ የሚወስድ በመሆኑ የዋጋ ግሽበት ይተኮሳል፡፡ በዚህ ጊዜ ኢኮኖሚው ይግላል፡፡ ይህ ነው ለኢትዮጵያ የዋጋ ግሽበት ዋነኛ ምንጩ፡፡ ልማቱን ፋይናንስ ለማድረግ የተኬደበት መንገድ የዋጋ ግሽበትን የሚቀሰቀስ ነው፡፡ በመሠረቱ ይህ አካሔድ ‘ዎኪንግ ኦን ኤ ታይት ሮፕ’ የምትለው ዓይነት ነው፡፡ አካሄዱ ስህተት ባይሆንም፣ በተለይ ከድህነት በፈጣን ሁኔታ ለመውጣት የሚያስችል አቅም ስለሚፈጥር የተሳሳተ መንገድ ነው ልትለው አትችልም፡፡ ነገር ግን ኅብረተሰቡ ሊሸከመው የሚችለው የዋጋ ግሽበት መጠን ምን ያህል ድረስ ነው ብለህ ማወቅን ይጠይቃል፡፡ የዋጋ ግሽበት ሰይጣን ነው፡፡ ዕድገትን ለማምጣት ያለዋጋ ግሽበት ስለማይቻል፣ አስፈላጊ ሰይጣን ብለህ የምትቀበለው በመሆኑ፣ መጠኑን ለክተህ ካልሄድክ አደጋው የከፋ ነው፡፡ አቅርቦት እስካልጨመረ ድረስ በአጭር ጊዜ ውስጥ ዓመታዊው የዋጋ ግሽበት ከአሥር በመቶ በታች ይወርዳል የሚል እምነት የለኝም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የዋጋ ግሽበቱ መፍትሔ ሊበጅለት ያልቻለ እንቆቅልሽ ሆኖ እስከ መቼ ይቀጥላል?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- የዋጋ ግሽበት ዜሮ ወይም ከዚያ በታች ይሆናል ብሎ መመኘት ጉዳት አለው፡፡ ምርት እንዲመረት አምራቹን የሚስብ የገበያ ዋጋ እንዲኖር ያስፈልጋል፡፡ ይህ የዋጋ ግሽበት ታክሎበት ለምርት የሚከፈል ዋጋ ነው፡፡ ሰውነት ሙቀት እንደሚያስፈልገው ሁሉ ኢኮኖሚም ልከኛ ሙቀት ያስፈልገዋል፡፡ ከአገር አገር ይለያይ እንጂ ኢኮኖሚ ሲቀዛቀዝ ወይም ሲዳከም መንግሥታት የወለድ ምጣኔን በመጠቀም የገንዘብ አቅርቦትን ከፍ በማድረግ፣ ከተመጠነ የዋጋ ግሽበት ጋር ኢኮኖሚው ከተዘፈቀበት ያነቃቁታል፡፡ ከተኛበት ይቀሰቅሱታል፡፡ ይህንን አካሄድ ‹‹ኳንቲቴቲቭ ኢዚንግ›› ይሉታል፡፡ አንዳንዶቹም ‹‹ሔሊኮፕተር መኒ›› እያሉ ይጠሩታል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ መንግሥት የልማት ስትራቴጂ ነድፎ ልማታዊ መንግሥት ነኝ ብሎ ኢኮኖሚውን ለማስፈንጠር የሄደበት መንገድ ቅድም እንዳልኩህ ‹‹ኢንፍሌሽናሪ ፋይናንሲንግ›› የሚባለው ነው፡፡ የገንዘብ አቅርቦት በመጨመሩ ፍላጎት በከፍተኛ ደረጃ እንዲጨምር ምክንያት ሆኗል፡፡ የፍላጎት በከፍተኛ ደረጃ መጨመር በሚገባው መጠን በአቅርቦት መጨመር ባለመደገፉ ምክንያት የዋጋ ግሽበት ተቀጣጥሏል፡፡ የገንዘብ ፖሊሲውም ሆነ የአቅርቦት አዝጋሚ መሆን ለዋጋ ግሽበት መቀጣጠል ምክንያት ሆነዋል፡፡ የተለያዩ የገንዘብ መሣሪያዎችን በመጠቀም የዋጋ ግሽበቱን ፍጥነት ለመቀነስ የፖሊሲ ዕርምጃዎች ቢወሰዱም፣ አቅርቦት አዝጋሚነቱን በመቀጠሉ የዋጋ ግሽበት ገዥ መሬት ላይ እንዲቀመጥ አስገድዷል፡፡ የዋጋ ግሽበትን በኢትዮጵያ ልከኛ ወደ ሆነ ደረጃ ማውረድ የሚቻለው በምርት አቅርቦት በኩል ያለውን ችግር መቅረፍ ሲቻል፣ በተለይም ግብርናን የማዘመን ሥራ ሲኖር ነው፡፡ ኢኮኖሚው እያደገ የዋጋ ግሽበት ግን ለሰው እንቆቅልሽ የሆነበት ምክንያት የምርት አቅርቦቱ የሚፈለገው ደረጃ ላይ ባለመድረሱ ነው፡፡ እየፈጠንክ ስትሄድ ከፍተኛ ሙቀት ይሰማሃል፡፡ በዚህ ጊዜ ማድረግ የሚኖርብህ ፍጥነት መቀነስ ወይም የመጓጓዣውን ዓይነት መቀየር ነው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያን ኢኮኖሚ ልክ ‹‹ላዳ›› ተብለው እንደሚጠሩት ተሽከርካሪዎች አድርገህ ልታየው ትችላለህ፡፡ ላዳ ያለ የሌለ ኃይሉን ተጠቅሞ ቢጓዝ ሞተሩ ይግላል፡፡ ውኃም ሊያፈላ ይችላል፡፡ በተቃራኒው ‹‹ቶዮታ ካምሪ››ን ብትወስድ ግን በከፍተኛ ፍጥነት ብትነዳውም ሞተሩ አይግልም፡፡ ስለዚህ በእጅህ ያለው ተሽከርካሪ ላዳ ከሆነ እስክትቀይረው ድረስ ፍጥነትን ቀንሰህ መጓዝ ነው፡፡ ይህም ካልተመቸህ የሚቀጥለው አማራጭ በባጃጅ መጓዝ ሊሆን ይችላል፡፡ የዋጋ ግሽበቱ ወደ ዜሮ ይጠጋ ካልክ፣ የኢኮኖሚ ዕድገትህንም በዚያው መጠን ማውረድ ነው፡፡ የምርጫ ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ የሚሻለው ግን ዕድገት እያስመዘገብክ አቅርቦትን ማሳደጉ ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የኢትዮጵያ ብሔራዊ ባንክ ከወራት በፊት የብርን የመግዛት አቅም በ15 በመቶ እንዲቀንስ አድርጓል፡፡ ባንኩ ለተመኑ መዳከም የሰጠው ምክንያት የወጪ ንግድን ለማበረታታትና የንግድ ሚዛኑን ጉድለት ለማጥበብ የሚል ነው፡፡ የተወሰደው ዕርምጃ ውጤታማ ይሆናል ተብሎ ይታሰባል?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- በመጀመርያ ደረጃ የምንዛሪ ተመን ከማክሮ ኢኮኖሚ ማስተዳደሪያ ቁልፍ መሣሪያዎች ውስጥ አንዱ ነው፡፡ የአንድ ወር የመገበያያ ገንዘብ ከንግድ ሸሪኮች የገንዘብ ተመን፣ ለምሳሌ ብር ከዶላር አኳያ ሲነፃፀር ውድ (Overvalued) ወይም ርካሽ (Undervalued) ይሆናል፡፡ ብር ውድ ነው ሲባል ዶላር የያዘ ነጋዴ፣ ቱሪስት ወይም ሌላ ሰው፣ ዶላሩን ወደ ብር ቢቀይረው የሚያገኘው አነስተኛ ገንዘብ ይሆናል ማለት ነው፡፡ ስለዚህ ነጋዴው በርከት አድርጎ ወደ ውጭ እንዲልክ የምንዛሪ ተመኑን ቀይረህና ብሩን ከፍ አድርገህ ስጠው ነው ዋነኛ ትርጉሙ፡፡ የኢኮኖሚ ሳይንሱም የሚለው ይህንኑ ነው፡፡ ከዚህ አንፃር የብሔራዊ ባንኩን የተመን ማስተካከያ ስታየው ትክክል ነው፡፡ ወደ ገሃዱ ተጨባጭ ሁናቴ ስንመጣ፣ የምንዛሪ ተመን ለውጡ በኢትዮጵያ የንግድ ሚዛን ጉድለትን የማጥበብ ኃይል ያለው ተዓምር ይሠራል ወይ ብትለኝ፣መልሱ አይደለም ነው፡፡ ምክንያቱም የብር የምንዛሪ ተመኑ የታሰበውን ያህል ውጤት እንዲያመጣ ከፈለግህ፣ ለዓለም ገበያ የምታቀርበው የተትረፈረፈ ምርት ሊኖርህ ወይም የአንተ ምርት ለምሳሌ የቡና የምርት ሰንሰለት በዓለም የምርት ሰንሰለት ውስጥ ጉልበት ድርሻ ሊኖረው ሲችል ነው፡፡ አቅም ካለህ የዓለም ባንክም፣ የዓለም የገንዘብ ድርጅትም ምክር ሳያስፈልግህ ራስህ የምንዛሪ ተመንህን ታስተካክላለህ፡፡ ገና ለገና ከአምስት ዓመት በኋላ ለሚደርስ ቡና ዛሬ ተመን ብትቀይር ግን የንግድ ሚዛን ጉድለቱ አይጠብም፡፡ ይልቁኑም ወደ አገር ውስጥ የምታስገባው የካፒታል ዕቃም ሆነ የሸቀጥ ዋጋ ስለሚንር ጉድለቱ ይብሱን ይሰፋል፡፡ የኢኮኖሚው መዋቅራዊ ችግር እስካልተፈታ ድረስ የንግድ ሚዛኑም መስፋቱን አያቆምም፡፡ ብርም ተመኑን ከመቀነስ አያመልጥም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ከጥቂት ዓመታት በፊት የውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረት ከፍተኛ ደረጃ ላይ ይደርሳል ብለው መናገርዎ ይታወሳል፡፡ እንደ ተፈራውም የውጭ ምንዛሪው እጥረት ኢኮኖሚውን ክፉኛ እየተፈታተነው ነው፡፡ የእጥረቱ መነሻ ምክንያት ምንድነው?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- የውጭ ምንዛሪ ፍላጎት በፍጥነት እያደገ እንደሚሄድ ምልክቶች ነበሩ፡፡ አንዳንድ መንግሥት ሊጀምራቸው ያሰባቸው ፕሮጀክቶች ለግንባታ ከሚያስፈልጋቸው ገንዘብ ከ50 እስከ 60 በመቶ የውጭ ምንዛሪ የሚያስፈልጋቸው መሆኑን ገምተን ነበር፡፡ ከዚህ በተጨማሪ ዶላር ይዘው ይመጣሉ ብሎ መንግሥት የተማመነባቸው የውጭ ኢንቨስተሮች ጭራሹኑ ከፍተኛ ዶላር ጠያቂ ሆነው ቀረቡ፡፡ በወቅቱ የመንግሥት ባንኮችን የውጭ ምንዛሪ ፍሰታችሁ ምን እንደሚመስል ሠርታችሁ አቅርቡ ስንል፣ የተለመደ ስላልነበር አስቸጋሪ ጥያቄ ሆኖባቸው ነበር፡፡ እንደ ምንም መረጃውን አሰባስበን የውጭ ምንዛሪ የማፍራት አቅማቸውን ስንፈትሽ፣ ከሚፈለገው የውጭ ምንዛሪ በጣም የወረደ ነበር፡፡ ወዲያውኑ በወቅቱ ለነበሩት ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስ ዜናዊ የጉዳዩን አሳሳቢነት በመግለጽ የተለያዩ የፕሮጀክት ፋይናንሲንግ መንገዶች እንዲፈለጉ፣ በአጠቃላይ የውጭ ምንዛሪ አቅርቦት ላይ እንዲሠራ፣ ይህ ካልሆነ ግን ችግሩ እንደሚከፋ ማስታወሻ አቀረብን፡፡ ማስታወሻው አሁንም ድረስ አለኝ፡፡ ላሳይህ እችላለሁ፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ያቀረባችሁት ማስታወሻና ማሳሰቢያ ተቀባይነት አገኘ?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- ጉዳዩ የሚመለከታቸውና የሚገባቸው ሰዎች ሐሳቡን ለመቀበል ትንሽ ሳይከብዳቸው እንዳልቀረ ሰምቻለሁ፡፡ ሆኖም በሒደት ለማየት የፈለጉት ይመስል ነበር፡፡ ከዚህ ውጪ ጉዳዩ የማይመለከታቸውና የማይገባቸው ሰዎች እኛ ቢፒአር እየተገበርን የመንግሥት የፋይናንስ ድርጅቶች ኤጀንሲ እንዴት የውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረት ይከሰታል ይላል በማለት ይኼ ማጋነን ነው ብለው ያዙኝ ልቀቁኝ አሉ፡፡ ቢፒአር የውጭ ምንዛሪ እንደ ልብ ያስገኛል ብለው ስላመኑ ይመስለኛል (ረዥም ሳቅ)፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረትን እንዴት መፍታት ይቻላል?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- ይኼ ትንሽ ከበድ ያለ ጥያቄ ነው፡፡ የውጭ ምንዛሪ የሚገኝባቸው መንገዶች አንደኛ አስተማማኝ የወጪ ንግድ ነው፡፡ ሁለተኛ ቀጥተኛ የውጭ ኢንቨስትመንት፣ ሦስተኛ በገንዘብ አስተላላፊዎች በኩል ከውጭ የሚላክ የሐዋላ ገንዘብ፣ አራተኛው ብድርና ዕርዳታ ናቸው ለውጭ ምንዛሪ ምንጭ የሆኑት ዘዴዎች፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ የወጪ ንግድ መሠረታዊ የኢኮኖሚ መዋቅራዊ ችግር ውስጥ የሚገኝ ነው፡፡ በዚህም ምክንያት የሚገኘው የውጭ ምንዛሪ በዓመት ከሚፈለው የውጭ ምንዛሪ አንፃር አነስተኛ ነው፡፡ በዚህ የተነሳ ከአገሪቱ የ112 ዓመታት የንግድ ታሪክ ውስጥ የ110 ዓመታት ታሪኳ የንግድ ሚዛን ጉድለት የታየበት ነው፡፡ ቡናና ኮረሪማ ኤክስፖርት እያደረግህ ከሦስት ቢሊዮን ዶላር የማይበልጥ የውጭ ምንዛሪ ገቢ አገኘሁ ማለት አይቻልም፡፡ መፍትሔው ሥር ነቀል የሆነ  የኢኮኖሚ መዋቅራዊ ለውጥ ሲሆን፣ እስከዚያው ግን ዘርፉን እንደገና መፈተሹ ተገቢ ይሆናል፡፡ በዚህ ረገድ ከቬትናም ብዙ መማር ይቻላል፡፡ ቬትናም 18 ቢሊዮን ዶላር የነበረውን የወጪ ንግድ ገቢ በሃያ ዓመታት ውስጥ 244 ቢሊዮን ዶላር አድርሳለች፡፡ እነሱ የሄዱበትን መንገድ ማየት ይጠቅማል፡፡ ቀጥተኛ የውጭ ኢንቨስትመንት እየጨመረ በመሄድ ላይ ነው፡፡ በአጭር ጊዜም ባይሆን በሁለትና ሦስት ዓመት የአንዳንዶቹ ውጤት በመጠኑም ቢሆን መፍትሔ ሊያስገኝ ይችላል፡፡ ቱሪዝምና የሐዋላ ገቢ ላይ በተገቢው መንገድ የሚሠራባቸው ካለ፣ የውጭ ምንዛሪ ችግሩን ማስተንፈስ ይቻላል፡፡ ቱሪዝም ትልቅ ኢንቨስትመንት የማይፈልግ ዘርፍ ነው፡፡ በአዳዲስ ሐሳቦችና ቴክኒኮች (ኢኖቬቲቭ) ከተኬደበት በአጭር ጊዜ ውጤት ሊያመጣ ይችላል፡፡ በዚህ ላይ የአየር መንገዱን ትልቅ አቅም መጠቀም ከተቻለ ውጤታማ መሆን ይቻላል፡፡ ከተመለደው ወጣ ብለው ማሰብ ለሚችሉ ሰዎች ኃላፊነቱን መስጠት ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረት ከማቃለል አኳያ ከውጭ አገር የሚላከው የሐዋላ (ሬሚታንስ) መጠን በአሁን ወቅት እየገባ እንደሆነ ከሚገጸለው አራት ቢሊዮን ዶላር በላይ ማሳደግ አይቻልም?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡-  በመጀመሪያ አራት ቢሊዮን ዶላር ይገባል እየተባለ የሚነገረው መጠን ትክክለኛ አኃዝ አይደለም፡፡ ይህን አኃዝ እንደ መረጃ ያወጡት ዓለም አቀፍ የገንዘብ ተቋማት ናቸው፡፡ እንዴት እዚህ አኃዝ ላይ ሊደርሱ እንደቻሉ ተነጋግረናል፡፡ እዚህ አኃዝ ላይ የደረሱበት አካሄድ ግምታዊና በስህተት የተሞላ ነው፡፡ ስለዚህ ዜጎች ወደ ኢትዮጵያ የሚልኩት ገንዘብ ከአራት ቢሊዮን ዶላር ሊበልጥም ሊያንስም ይችላል፡፡ ሁለተኛ በባንኮችና በገንዘብ አስተላላፊዎች በኩል በኦፊሴል የሚላከው ገንዘብ የዓለም ባንክም ሆነ የአይኤምኤፍ መረጃ እንደሚያሳዩት በአማካይ ከ700 ሚሊዮን ዶላር የማይበልጥ ነው፡፡ ወደ አገር ውስጥ ይገባል ከሚባለው ገንዘብ 75 በመቶው በባንኮች በኩል የሚያላክ አይደለም፡፡ የውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረትን ከማቃለል አኳያ የውጭ ሐዋላ ብዙ ልፋትን የማይጠይቅ ወይም ‹‹low hanging fruit›› የሚባል ነው፡፡ የውጭ ሐዋላ አሁን ባለው አካሄድና ባንኮች በሚያደርጉት መፍጨርጨር ብቻ በፍጥነት ማሳደግ አይችልም፡፡ ከውጭ ሐዋላ የሚገኘውን ገንዘብ በፍጥነት ለማሳደግ ከተፈለገ ጉዳዩን ብሔራዊ አጀንዳ አድርጎ መነሳትን ይጠይቃል፡፡ በርካታ አገሮች የውጭ ሐዋላ ገቢን ብሔራዊ አጀንዳቸው በማድረግ በአጭር ጊዜ ውስጥ ከፍተኛ የውጭ ምንዛሪ ለማግኘት ችለዋል፡፡ ከሰባት ዓመታት በፊት ፓኪስታን ከሐዋላ የምታገኘው ገንዘብ ሰባት ቢሊዮን ዶላር ነበር፡፡ እ.ኤ.አ. በ2017 ፓኪስታን ያገኘችው የውጭ ሐዋላ 19 ቢሊዮን ዶላር ደርሷል፡፡ መቶ ሚሊዮን ሕዝብ ያላት ፊሊፒንስ 29 ቢሊዮን ዶላር፣ ሜክሲኮም 30 ቢሊዮን ዶላር ያገኛሉ፡፡ ከመቶ ሺሕ ሕዝብ በታች ያላቸው የፓስፊክ አገሮች ማለትም እንደ ቶንጋ ሳሞአና ፊጂ ያሉት አገሮችም 50 በመቶ ለአገር ውስጥ ምርት ድርሻ የሚያበረክተው ሐዋላ ነው፡፡ ሐዋላን ለማሳደግ በርካታ መንገዶች አሉ፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ ከውጭ ሐዋላ የሚገኘውን ገንዘብ በፍጥነት ለማሳደግ ከተፈለገ፣ የሐዋላ ገንዘብ የሚላክባቸውንና “high value corridors” ተብለው የሚታወቁ አገሮችን ማለትም ሳዑዲ ዓረቢያ ሊባኖስ፣ እስራኤልና አሜሪካ የመሳሰሉት ላይ በማተኮር በአጭር ጊዜ በቢሊዮን የሚቆጠር ዶላር በኦፊሴል ማስገባት ይቻላል፡፡ እዚህ አገር ያሉ ዓለም አቀፍ ተቋማትም መንገዱን ለማሳየትና ለማገዝ ዝግጁ ናቸው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የፋይናንስ ዘርፉ አሁን እየሰፋ ለመጣው የኑሮ ልዩነትና ሚዛናዊ ላልሆነው የሀብት ክፍፍል አስተዋጽኦ እያደረገ ነው ይባላል፡፡ በዚህ ላይ የእርስዎ ምልከታ ምንድነው?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- የፋይናንስ ዘርፉ ማለትም የባንክ፣ የኢንሹራንስና የማይክሮ ፋይናንስ ተቋማት ለኢኮኖሚው ዕድገት የተፈለገውን እንኳ ባይሆን ለግሉ ዘርፍ ማበብ የጎላ አስተዋጽኦ ማድረጋቸው አይካድም፡፡ በመሠረቱ የፋይናንስ ዘርፉ ልማታዊ በሆኑ አገሮች ውስጥ የሀብት ክፍፍልን ሚዛናዊ ለማድረግ ከሚጠቀሙባቸው ቁልፍ መሣሪያዎች መካከል በዋናነት የሚመደብ ነው፡፡ ልማታዊ መንግሥት ኢኮኖሚውን የሚያይበት መነጽር የፖለቲካዊ ኢኮኖሚ መነጽር ነው የሚባለውም ለዚህ ነው፡፡ ሀብት ሲፈጠር፣ የተፈጠረው ሀብት ለጋራ ተጠቃሚነት ፍትሐዊ በሆነ መንገድ መከፋፈል አለበት ብሎ ልማታዊ መንግሥቱ ስለሚያምን ጭምር ነው፡፡ ልማታዊ መንግሥት የግሉን ዘርፍ የማይተካ የኢኮኖሚ አንቀሳቃሽነት ሚና እንዳለው ስለሚያምን፣ የግል ባለሀብቱና ኢንቨስተሩ ኢኮኖሚውን ወደ ተሻለ ከፍታ እንዲያደርሱና የበኩላቸውን እንዲያበረክቱ የተመቻቸ የብድር አቅርቦት፣ አቅም በፈቀደ መጠን የሚገኝ የውጭ ምንዛሪን ቅድሚያ የማግኘት መብት፣ አቅምን ያገናዘበ የታክስ ሥርዓት፣ ወዘተ. በመዘርጋት የግሉ ዘርፍ መንግሥት ቅድሚያ በሰጠባቸው የሥራ ዘርፎች ላይ እንዲሠማራ መንገዱን ያመቻቻል፡፡ በደቡብ ኮሪያ፣ በማሌዥያ፣ በሲንጋፖር፣ ወዘተ. መንግሥታት ኢኮኖሚያቸውን ያሳደጉት ለመንግሥት ያደሩ የፋይናንስ ዘርፎችን ተጠቅመው ነው፡፡ የተመቻቸ ብድርና የውጭ ምንዛሪ አቅርቦት የሚያገኙ ኩባንያዎችን ተጠቃሚ በማድረግ ነው፡፡ የደቡብ ኮሪያው ሳምሰንግ ባለቤት ሥራውን የጀመረው የአትክልት፣ የዓሳ፣ ከዚያም የስኳር ሻጭ ከመሆን ተነስቶ ነበር፡፡ ይህን ሥራ በ30 ዶላር ነው የጀመረው፡፡ የወቅቱ ፕሬዚዳንት የፓርክ ቹንግ መንግሥት ሳምሰንግና መሰል ኩባንያዎችን ሰብስቦ ብድር እየሰጠ፣ የውጭ ምንዛሪ እያቀረበ አልፎ ተርፎም ዕዳ ያለባቸውን ዕዳቸውን እየሰረዘ ነው በሒደት ኢኮኖሚውን የገነባው፡፡

የእዚህ አገር የፋይናንስ ዘርፍ የሀብት ክፍፍሉን አዛብቷል በሚለው ላይ እኔም እስማማለሁ፡፡ የባንክ ብድር ለማግኘት መመዘኛው ምንድነው፡፡ ዋናው መመዘኛ የብድር ማስያዣ ነው፡፡ ማስያዣ ያለው ብድር ያገኛል፡፡ ዋስትናው የማይረባም ቢሆን ብድር ያስገኝለታል፡፡ በአነስተኛና መካከለኛ ኢንተርፕራይዝ ዘርፍ የተሠማራው ብድር አገኘ ከተባለ እንጥፍጣፊ ቢደርሰው  ነው፡፡ ባለሀብቱን ከወሰድክ በአብዛኛው በኢንዱስትሪ ዘርፍ የተሠማራ አይደለም፡፡ የሚያኘውን ትርፍ ወይ ዱባይ ያስቀምጠዋል አሊያም ሕንፃ ይሠራበታል፡፡ አበቃ፡፡ ለአንድ የቡና ነጋዴ አራት መቶ ሚሊዮን ብትሰጠው የማን ኑሮ ነው የሚሻሻለው? የአርሶ አደሩ ወይስ የነጋዴው? በሀብት ላይ ሀብት እንጂ ይጨምርለታል እንጂ ወደ ደሃው ብዙም አይወርድም፡፡ አብዛኛው የአገሪቱ ኢኮኖሚና ሕዝብ የት ነው ያለው? የብድር ፍሰቱስ ወዴት ነው ያመዘነው? በወሬ ደረጃ የምትሰማቸው አንዳንድ ነገሮች እውነት ከሆኑ፣ የኑሮ ልዩነት እንዲሰፋ የፋይናንስ ተቋማቱ የራሳቸውን አስተዋጽኦ አድርገዋል ማለት ትችላለህ፡፡ ለምሳሌ በትዕዛዝ የሚሰጥ ብድርና የውጭ ምንዛሪ አለ ይባላል፡፡ እንዲሁም በአንድ የብድር ዋስትና ከሁለት ባንክ ብድር የወሰዱ አሉ ይባላል፡፡ በቀላሉ የሆቴል ባለቤት ሕጋዊ በሚመስል ነገር ግን በተቀነባበረ አሠራር በመያዣነት የተያዘ ሕንፃ የገዙ ሰዎች፣ ራሳቸው የጨረታ ሰነድ አዘጋጅተው ራሳቸው አሸናፊ እንደሚሆኑ፣ ወዘተ. ይሰማል፡፡ ይህ እውነት ከሆነ በሒደት ቅሬታ ይፈጥራል፡፡ የኑሮ ልዩነት እየሰፋ ይሄዳል፡፡ ከሁሉ በላይ ግን በእዚህ አገር ልዩነት እንዲሰፋ ካደረጉ ነገሮች አንዱ መሬት ነው፡፡ አንዳንድ ሰው ሚሳይል የተገጠመለት እስኪመስል ድረስ በፍጥነት ይምዘገዘጋል፡፡ ይኼ መፍትሔ ካልተበጀለት አካታች የኢኮኖሚ ዕድገት የሚባለውን መርሳቱ ይሻላል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የኢትዮጵያ ልማት ባንክ አሠራሩ የኢንቨስተሩን ፍላጎት ያላማከለ፣ የሚያወጣቸውም መመርያዎች እርስ በርስ የሚጋጩ፣ በሙስናና በአቅም ማነስ ባለሀብቶችን ያማረሩ ጉዳዮች እየተነሱ በስፋት ወቀሳ ይቀርብበታል፡፡ ምን አስተያየት አለዎት?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡– እኔ ከባንክ ዘርፉ ከወጣሁ ቆየሁ፡፡ አሁን ባንኩ ስላለበት ደረጃ የማውቀው ነገር የለም፡፡ ያልካቸው ችግሮች በሙሉ በዚያን ጊዜም ነበሩ፡፡ እንዲያውም ፈረንጆች እንደሚሉት ‹‹Pandora Box›› የሚያስፈሩና የሚያስደነግጡ ነገሮች ነበሩ፡፡ በወቅቱ የአሠራር ችግሮችን በተለይ በብድር አሰጣጥ ክትትልና አሰባሰብ፣ የፕሮጀክት አዋጭነት ትንተና፣ ወዘተ. ላይ በርካታ ችግሮችን ነቅሰን አውጥተን ብዙ ጦርነት አካደናል፡፡ ባንኩ እንደ አዲስ እንዲዋቀር የወቅቱን ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስ ዜናዊን አሳምነንና ተቀባይነት አግኝቶ ወደ ሥራ ለመግባት ስናቅድ ሁናቴው ያላስደሰታቸው ሰዎች አከሸፉት፡፡ የመጀመርያውን የሥራ መልቀቂያ ያቀረብኩትም ወዲያውኑ ነበር፡፡ በቅርቡ ስለባንኩ በየአቅጣጫው ተነስቶ የነበረውን ውግዘት የምታስታውሰው ይመስለኛል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የመንግሥት የፋይናንስ ተቋማት ሥር የሰደደ ሙስና እንዲሁም የአቅም ችግር አለባቸው ይባላል፡፡ ቀደም ሲል ዘርፉን ይመሩ ስለነበር በዚህ ጉዳይ ላይ የሚገልጹልን ነገር ካለ? አሁንስ ድርጅቶቹ ያሉበትን ሁኔታ እንዴት ያዩታል?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- አሁን ገና ጣት የሚያስቆርጥ ጥያቄ አመጣህ፡፡ ጥያቄው መቅረብ የነበረበት 14 ዓመታት ሙሉ ሙስናን ሲዋጋ ለነበረው የሥነ ምግባርና ፀረ ሙስና ኮሚሽን ነው፡፡ ከዘርፉ ስለራቅሁ ድርጅቶቹ ያሉበትትን ወቅታዊ ሁኔታ አላውቅም፡፡ ሥራቸውን አክብረው በታማኝነት የወር ደመወዝ እየጠበቁ ዓመቱን ሙሉ ቦነስ እየናፈቁ ደፋ ቀና የሚሉ በርካታ ሠራተኞች ያሉባቸው ድርጅቶች መሆናቸውን በወቅቱ ተገንዝቤያለሁ፡፡ ከእነዚህ ውጪ በግለሰቦች ላይ በመንጠላጠል፣ እንዲሁም የፓርቲ ጭንብል በማጥለቅ ባልተገባ ተግባር የሚሳተፉ ደብተራዎችና ወይዛዝርት እንደነበሩ መረጃ ብቻ ሳይሆን ማስረጃ ለመንግሥት ቀርቦ እንደነበር አስታውሳለሁ፡፡ ዝርዝሩን የመንግሥት ሚስጥር ስለሆነና ስለማላስታውሰው ልነግርህ አልችልም፡፡ የአቅም ጉዳይ ከተነሳ በጣም ብዙ ባይሆኑም በጥቂቱ አቅም ያላቸው ነበሩ፡፡ ሌሎች አቅምም ወገብም የሌላቸው ሰዎች ነበሩ፡፡ አሁንም ያሉ ይመስለኛል፡፡ አሁን በምንነጋገርበት ወቅት ሙስና ሥር ሰዶ ከሆነ እንደ እምቦጭ መጠራረግ ነው፡፡ አኮልኳይና ወጥ ቀማሹን ጨምሮ ማለት ነው፡፡ ዋናው ትኩረት መሆን የሚገባው ተቋማቱ የልማት ማስፈጸሚያ ዓይነተኛ መሣሪያዎች በመሆናቸው የሰው ኃይሉን የማብቃቱ ሥራ ላይ ነው፡፡ ችሎታ፣ ብቃትና ታማኝነትን (ለአገር ማለቴ ነው) መሠረት ያደረገ አሠራርና አደረጃጀት መኖሩን በድጋሚ ማየት ጠቃሚ ነው፡፡ በአጭሩ መንግሥት ሪፖርት በሚደረግለት ዓመታዊ ትርፍ ሳይዘናጋ ፍተሻ ቢያደርግ የሚያዋጣው ይመስለኛል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- አገሪቱን ከፍተኛ የሥራ አጥነት፣ እንዲሁም የውጭ ምንዛሪ እጥረት እየተፈታተኗት ይገኛሉ፡፡ እነዚህንና ሌሎች ችግሮችን ለመፍታት ምን መደረግ አለበት ይላሉ?

ዶ/ር ኢዮብ፡- ባለፉት ዓመታት የአገሪቱ ኢኮኖሚ ዕድገት ያሳይ እንጂ በበቂ ሁኔታ የውጭ ምንዛሪ እያመነጨ የሥራ ዕድል እየፈጠረ አልነበረም፡፡ ምክንያቱም ኢኮኖሚው እየሸጋገረ የሚገኘው ከግብርና ወደ ኢንዱስትሪ ሳይሆን፣ ዝቅተኛ ምርትና ምርታማነት ካለው ግብርና ተመሳሳይ የምርትና ምርታማነት ወዳለው ሰርቪስ ሴክተር ነው፡፡ ኮንስትራክሽን፣ ሰርቪስ ሴክተር የሥራ ዕድል ከመፍጠርና የውጭ ምንዛሪ ከማፍራት አኳያ በጣም የተወሰነ አቅም ነው ያለው፡፡ አሁን የሚያስፈልገው አዲስ ምልከታ ነው፡፡ እንደነበረው ሊቀጥል አይችልም፡፡ አንድ ኢኮኖሚ በበቂ ሁኔታ የውጭ ምንዛሪ ማፍራት ካልቻለና የሥራ ዕድል በአጥጋቢ መፍጠር ካልቻለ የኢኮኖሚ ስትራቴጂውንና ፖሊሲዎችን መፈተሽ ተገቢ ነው፡፡ በተለይም በግብርናና ኢንዱስትሪ መካከል ትስስር በበቂ ሁኔታ ካልታጠረ የሚፈለገው ውጤት ላይ መድረስ አይቻልም፡፡ አበባ ሸጠህ ተመልሰህ ባገኘኸው የውጭ ምንዛሪ ከፓኪስታንና ከባንግላዴሽ ጥጥ እየገዛህ በጨርቃ ጨርቅ ሴክተር ከምታቀርብ፣ በባለሀብቱና በአርሶ አደሩ መካከል ጥምረት ፈጥረህ ለምሳሌ አርሶ አደሩ ዕዳ ውስጥ ሳይገባ ባለሀብቱ ግብዓት እያቀረበለት በኮንትራት ግብርና ጥጥ ቢያመርት፣ ግብርናውም ኢንዱስትሪውም ተያይዞ ማደግ ይችላል፡፡ ከዚህ በተጨማሪ በግብርና ሜካናይዜሽንና በሰፋፊ እርሻዎች ላይ ቢሠራ፣ የዋጋ ግሽበት ይለዝብና የውጭ ምንዛሪ ይገኛል፡፡ በኢንዱስትሪው ዘርፍ የአገር ውስጥ ባለሀብት ተሳትፎ መጉላትና መሪ መሆን አለበት፡፡ የውጭ ኢንቨስተሮች ሚና እንደተጠበቀ ሆኖ የማክሮ ኢኮኖሚ በተለይም የገንዘብና የታክስ ፖሊሲዎች እስካሁን አገልግለዋል፡፡ ከዚህ በኋላ ግን ወቅቱ በሚጠይቀው፣ ኢኮኖሚው በሚፈልገው መጠን ወርድና ቁመናቸው ሊስተካከል ይገባል፡፡ የግል ዘርፉን ጠፍረው የያዙ ሕጎች፣ አሠራሮችና ደንቦች ሊፈተሹና እንደ ፓስታ የተወሳሰበው ቢሮክራሲም ዳግም መቃኘቱ የግድ ነው፡፡ ቁልፍ የሆኑ ተቋማት ከፖለቲካ ነፃ ወይም ‘ዲ-ፖሊቲሳይዝድ’ መደረግ አለባቸው፡፡ ሁሉም የመንግሥት ተቋማት በድጋሚ መታየት አለባቸው፡፡ በተለይም የቴሌኮምና የፋይናንስ ድርጅቶች፣ የጨርቃ ጨርቅ፣ የቆዳ፣ የኬሚካል፣ የብረታ ብረት ኢንዱስትሪዎችና ማዕከላት በድጋሚ ሊታዩ ይገባል፡፡ የኤክስፖርት ዘርፉ አርባ ሺሕ ጫማ ላይ በሚገኝበት አግባብ መቀጠል ስለማይቻል፣ አፋጣኝ ለውጥ  ማምጣት የመኖርና ያለመኖር ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ እስካሁን የተኬደባቸው የሥራ ፈጠራ ዕድሎች መከለስ አለባቸው፡፡ ከሁሉ በላይ የኢኮኖሚ ልማት ያለ አዕምሮ ልማት የማይታሰብ ነው፡፡ የአዕምሮ ልማት ከባለ ሁለት አኃዝ ዕድገት በላይ ሊሠራበት የሚገባ አንገብጋቢ ጉዳይ ነው፡፡

MPs question TPLF’s appointment of diplomats

19 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by The Reporter 

The standing committee further raised the issue of fairness, transparency, legitimacy as well as qualification of diplomats appointed and posted at embassies and consulate offices abroad.

Members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) raised questions regarding the competency of newly appointed ambassadors and heads of mission of Ethiopia’s diplomatic outposts, most of whom were unseated from government executive offices.

However, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) defended the appointees while admitting the need to review the whole appointment procedure.

In his appearance before Parliament on Tuesday, Workeneh Gebeyehu (PhD), Minister of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), however, did not deny the prevailing outstanding issues such as concerns of fairness and luck of transparency. He as well has underlined the need for procedural revision.

During the 25th regular session of the parliamentary year, Workneh presented his office’s nine-month performance report before the House while MPs raised various questions related to the ministry’s activities as well as the country’s diplomacy.

Among the questions that were raised by members of the Foreign Relations Affairs Standing Committee of the House the appointment of new ambassadors and diplomats who are not career diplomats but picked by the government after being expelled from other ministerial offices.

The standing committee further raised the issue of fairness, transparency, legitimacy as well as qualification of diplomats appointed and posted at embassies and consulate offices abroad.

The minister recognized two established trends of appointment of diplomats. One is assigned career diplomat from within the ministry and the other is appointment coming from the government.

But the retired officials, when they are appointed for diplomacy, they come with the experience and leadership quality they have acquired during their tenure as an executive.

Though it is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and the President to appoint an ambassador, the ministry also has a responsibility to generate regulations and guidelines and to make proposals to the government.

He also noted that consultation is underway with the Office of the Prime Minister regarding the appointment procedures as well as other related tasks.

Hence, according to the minister, once the guideline is concluded, senior government officials can only be assigned for diplomatic responsibility based on their track record and what they achieved while they were in office.

DBE president submits resignation! Nation wonders why this one of the nation’s oldest banks become terrible performer! TPLF needs to provide explanation!

19 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by The Reporter May 19, 2018

Almost two years after joining the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), Getahun Nana, former vice-governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), has tendered his resignation to the Office of the Prime Minister, The Reporter has learnt.

This came almost two years after the removal of Esayas Bahre, a long-serving president of the policy bank, who left the Bank in 2016 after he was suspended from his post.

It is to be recalled that Esayas’s tenure came to an abrupt end after his dismissal by the Public Financial Institutions Supervision Agency, an institution tasked with overseeing the state-owned banks.

The resignation of Getahun came as a surprise and said to have followed an intense meeting with the Board of the Bank, chaired by Minister of Agriculture & Livestock, Shiferaw Shigute.

There were frustrations over the levels of Non-Performing Loans of the Bank which is still above the 15 percent maximum cap set by the National Bank of Ethiopia.

According to the Bank’s nine-month report, following the incoming of Getahun–DBE has started to show few improvements in its Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) ratio.

The report indicates that NPL has declined from 28 percent to 20.54 percent. From the total NPL basket, the majority is accounted for by two sectors: manufacturing and commercial farming. As of January, 2018, DBE’s NPL level is 8.6 billion birr.

Geathun has in fact disclosed of his frustrations over the performance of the bank and the pressure he had to withstand to his close friends in the banking industry, a close source told The Reporter.

Sources from DBE have also said that the controversial case of one indebted textile factory and the fact that it has billions of unpaid loans might have created a problem to Getahun.

The Bank, instead of foreclosing the factory or taking measures, has decided to tolerate, another official from the Bank disclosed to The Reporter.

Given its current status, taking a measure against this factory might send a bad message to the overall foreign direct investment in the country and particularly investments in textile.

In addition to this, the factory employs thousands of people, explained the official.

These two cases I think are behind the frustrations of Getahun which boiled down to tendering his resignation, said a second official.

The Reporter has also learnt from sources that there was a meeting held between the members of commercial farm investments and Shiferaw as of last week.

“During the meeting, we have expressed our dissatisfaction over the Bank,” said a commercial farm investor.

Getahun was the fourth president of DBE, the only policy bank of Ethiopia, following Esayas, Wondowesen Teshome, and Moges Chemere in the last 25 years.

Before his appointment, he was one of the longest serving financial sector watchdogs at the central bank and served as a vice governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) for seven years. He was appointed by the then Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to revive DBE.

The removal of Esayas, which was at the time largely related with a controversial finding by a study conducted in the Office of the Prime Minister that exposed the misuse of loans disbursed to commercial farms, particularly in Gambella Region has put the bank in a limelight.

Following the incoming of Getahun, the Bank has limited the amount of loans to commercial farms and completely stopped disbursing loans to rain fed commercial farms.

Looking at its third quarter of this year’s performance, the Bank disbursed 1.9 billion birr from its initial plan of 2.5 billion birr. From this, the 55.5 percent was disbursed to the manufacturing sector followed by a 22.7 percent and three percent of financing made to SMEs in form of a lease finance and agriculture respectively.

Getahun came from a regulatory part of the financial sector, so operating such a complicated Bank must be a hard job, according to a former senior official of the Bank.

Following the submission of his resignation to the PM, his letter had to be accepted by the PM to be cleared to leave.

The Reporter’s repeated efforts to contact Getahun using phone calls and texts messages bore no fruit.

 

Related:

What a mess at DBE! Boils down to TPLF’s inefficient use of bank’s resources to beneift TPLF members

Gambela land grab breeds TPLF lawlessness & corruption; DBE & its ponzi scheme at the centre of it!

 

 

“ወደ ኋላ የለም”!                                     እስክንድር ነጋ ለአሜሪካ ድምጽ የሠጠው ቃለ መጠይቅ: መታየት/መደመጥ ያለበት!

19 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

High Commissioner Ra’ad’s statement before 28th Special Session of Human Rights Council

18 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

18 May 2018

RESOLUTION :

VOTING: //www.un.org/webcast/1362235914001/B1J3DDQJf_default/index.html?videoId=5786658761001

 

Mr. President,

Appalling recent events in Gaza have called this Council into Special Session. Since the protests began on 30 March, 87 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli security forces in the context of the demonstrations, including 12 children; 29 others, including three children, were killed in other circumstances. And over 12,000 people have been injured, more than 3,500 of them by live ammunition.

The violence reached a peak on Monday 14 May, when 43 demonstrators were killed by Israeli forces – and the number sadly continues to climb, as some of the 1,360 demonstrators injured with live ammunition that day succumb to their wounds. These people, many of whom were completely unarmed, were shot in the back, in the chest, in the head and limbs with live ammunition, as well as rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas canisters. Israeli forces also killed a further 17 Palestinians outside the context of the five demonstration hot spots. Together, this figure of 60 is the highest one-day death toll in Gaza since the 2014 hostilities.

This was not “a PR victory for Hamas”, in the reported words of a senior Israeli military spokesman; it was a tragedy for thousands of families. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has also described the demonstrators as being “paid by Hamas”, and has said the Israeli security forces “try to minimize casualties”. But there is little evidence of any attempt to minimize casualties on Monday. Although some of the demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails, used sling-shots to throw stones, flew burning kites into Israel, and attempted to use wire-cutters against the two fences between Gaza and Israel, these actions alone do not appear to constitute the imminent threat to life or deadly injury which could justify the use of lethal force.

The stark contrast in casualties on both sides is also suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response: on Monday, on the Israeli side, one soldier was reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone. Killings resulting from the unlawful use of force by an occupying power may also constitute “wilful killings” – a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Palestinians have exactly the same human rights as Israelis do. They have the same rights to live safely in their homes, in freedom, with adequate and essential services and opportunities. And of this essential core of entitlements due to every human being, they are systematically deprived.

All of the 1.9 million people who live in Gaza have been penned in behind fences and have suffered progressively more restrictions and greater poverty. After 11 years of blockade by Israel they have little hope of employment, and their infrastructure is crumbling, with an electricity crisis, inadequate health services and a decaying sewage system that constitutes a threat to health. They are forced to seek exit permits from Israel for any reason, including for specialised health care, and many of those permits are denied or delayed – including permits for the majority of the demonstrators shot by Israeli security forces this week.

Israel, as an occupying power under international law, is obligated to protect the population of Gaza and ensure their welfare. But they are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanised by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest.

Mr President,

Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week.

The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory continues to deteriorate. Settlement building continues, and settler violence has again been rising this year. Demolitions of private property continue, including punitive demolitions, which constitute a deplorable form of collective punishment. The small Bedouin community of Khan al Ahmar, just east of Jerusalem, is at high risk of forcible transfer. This week, the villages of Beita and Nabi Saleh were subjected to closures and restrictions on movement following clashes with the Israeli forces. Israel also continues to detain large numbers of Palestinians, including children, although under international law the detention of a child must be a measure of last resort. I also deplore the widespread and unprincipled use of detention without trial – described as “administrative detention” – and violations of fundamental fair trial guarantees. And the deficit in accountability for alleged extrajudicial killings and other violations, as previously reported by the Secretary General and my Office1, undermines confidence in Israeli justice.

I therefore endorse calls made by many States and observers for an investigation that is international, independent and impartial – in the hope the truth regarding these matters will lead to justice.

Those responsible for violations must in the end be held accountable. In this context, as in all conflicts where impunity is widespread, unless ended by a peace settlement, excessive violence – both horrifying and criminal – flows easily from the barrel of a gun; becomes normal, destroying the occupied perhaps, but something crucial too in the occupier. What do you become when you shoot to kill someone who is unarmed, and not an immediate threat to you? You are neither brave, nor a hero. You have become someone very different to that.

And then there is the fear and hatred – those dreadful twins, prolific in the manufacturing of violence and human suffering, now transforming into a psychosis, on both sides, more tightly spun, and more corrosive. And to what end? So we will all be destroyed?

The occupation must end, so the people of Palestine can be liberated, and the people of Israel liberated from it. End the occupation, and the violence and insecurity will largely disappear.

I urge Israel to act in accordance with its international obligations. Palestinians’ right to life, their right to security of the person and rights to freedom of assembly and expression must be respected and protected. All individuals’ right to health must be respected and protected, regardless of the context in which they may have been injured. The rules of engagement for Israel’s security forces must be in line with Israel’s international obligations, and I urge that they be published.Children should never be the targets of violence and must not be put at risk of violence or encouraged to participate in violence. I again remind all concerned that lethal force may only be used in cases of extreme necessity, as a last resort, in response to an imminent threat of death or risk of serious injury.

Thank you Mr President.

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/ High Commissioner calls for international investigation in Gaza violence

ON THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

 

REUTERS: U.N. sets up human rights probe into Gaza killings, to Israel’s fury

GENEVA (Reuters) – Israel railed against the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday as it voted to set up a probe into recent killings in Gaza and accused Israel of excessive use of force.

The resolution to send a commission of inquiry to investigate was rejected by the United States and Australia, but backed by 29 members of the 47-state U.N. forum. Another 14 countries, including Britain, Germany and Japan, abstained.

Israel’s ambassador in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, castigated the council for “spreading lies against Israel” during “five hours of ludicrous statements”.

“Simply put, with this resolution, this council has reached a new height of hypocrisy, and the lowest standards of credibility,” she said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it totally rejected the resolution, adding the entire purpose of the council was “not to investigate the truth but to compromise Israel’s right to self-defense and to single out the Jewish state for demonisation”.

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