Premier says gov’t will cement ties with neighboring countries

Addis Ababa, January 12, 2017 (FBC) – Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said his government will strengthen its bilateral relations with neighboring countries.

The Premier gave today explanation for questions raised by members of the parliament (MPs).

Responding to question regarding the status of Ethiopia’s relations with its neighbors, the Premier said, “We have excellent relations with Kenya and Sudan.”

“Our relation with Djibouti is strategic and one step ahead from the relations with other countries. We have also good relations with both South Sudan and Somalia,” he added.

And, he said, “We will work to further cement our relations with our neighbors.”

Regarding to delay in mega projects, he said, there is no delay in all projects except in sugar, irrigation, and some road projects and cited the Ethio-Djibouti railway, Addis Ababa light rail and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as a case in point.

It is a big success to finalize the Ethio-Djibouti railway within four and a half years. The Construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has also reached at 58 percent, the Premier told the MPs.

The delay in sugar projects is resulted from the problem in planning initially to build 10 factories at the same time and lack of capacity of contractors, especially Indian contractors. The delay in irrigation project is caused by lack of experience and skilled manpower.

In order to address these problems, the government has put in place 30/70 policy (enrolling 30% of students in higher learning institutions in social science field and 70% of students in natural science field,), he said.

According to the Premier, the agricultural sector grew by 12 percent this harvest season compared to the previous year.

As regards to the state of emergency declared last October, the he noted that it allowed to bring calm and stability in the country.

It also helped to foil efforts of some anti-peace forces and foreign enemies to ruin the country’s peace. It further reinstated the people-to-people relations, he noted.

Moreover, it allowed security forces to take lesson and get experience.

The state of emergency became successful since it earned a full backing from the public across the country, he stated.

Regarding the ongoing reform program, the Premier said it is bearing fruit and going as per scheduled.

The ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is working in partnership with affiliate parties to make the reform program a national agenda, he said.

As far as housing project is concerned, the Premier said the construction of 131,000 houses is underway in Addis Ababa with 16 billion birr loan secured from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) and 1.5 billion birr allocated by Addis Ababa city administration. 

According to the Premier, 30,000 houses will be transferred to beneficiaries at the end of this Ethiopian fiscal year.

Translated and posted by Amare Asrat