Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed defends his government by stressing the fact that massive economic achievements have been attained bearing in mind the difficult situations.
Even though he is expected to come to the parliament before the end of the budget year, which will end on July 7, to present his administration annual performance and proposed the ratification of the coming budget year, the PM has appeared at the parliament on Tuesday June 14 to provide his responds for the questions presented by members of the parliament.
Despite the expectations being that he would make his presentations at the end of the budget year come July 7 for the address of his administration’s annual performance alongside the proposed ratification of the coming budget year, the PM made an appearance in parliament on Tuesday June 14 to provide response to questions presented by members of parliament.
In his deliberation that took more than three hours, he covered the social, economic, political and current affairs issues.
Regarding economic and social issues, the PM defended his government’s performance, whilst he did not zoom in to touch upon the details on inflation.
Nonetheless, the PM highlighted several success results which the country registered in the reform period in the current budget year.
For instance he stated that the country debt that includes the external debt had shown significant reduction in the reform period.
In spite of the country facing different pressures from international and local forces and global situation like COVID 19, the government has performed very well in terms of settling debt.
He said that the government is committed to repay borrowers and added that before the reform the country debt was 58 percent of the GDP which has since narrowed to 50.5 percent.
Every year the country allocates huge budget for debt settlement. The debt settlement budget has become one of the biggest portions over the years, which remains similar in the proposed next budget year.
Regarding road networks, Abiy said that the national road sector development for the past about four years have seen positive expansions. Similarly, he pointed out that the Addis Ababa city asphalt road project has hugely been developed.
He explained his case by citing the asphalt concrete constructed at western Gojam zone of Ahmara region, which is a 520 km stretch of a road.
The road sector development in the past few years has shot up by 40 percent when compared with the preceding year.
He said the road network that was 127,000 km before the reform has reached 165,000 km. An additional 4,700 km asphalt road has been constructed in the reform period that was 13,000 km about four years ago, while more 22,000 km road projects are in different stages.
Regarding the sugar sector development, the PM stated that the sugarcane plantation has tripled in the past few years besides finalized five new millers that drove up the sugar factory numbers to nine.
So far the sugar production capacity has amped to 365,000 metric tons from 200,000 metric ton about three years ago.
However, he said that there is still a gap between the demand and supply of the sweet.
Regarding industry parks development, Abiy said that in the past few years 12 industry parks including three agro processing facilities have been inaugurated that are expected to expand the industry sector development in an integrated manner.
The number of truckers that are engaged in farming have reached 5,000, which is stated by the PM as a big success on the way to transforming the agriculture sector. He added that through agricultural cluster development about 45 percent of farm land have been included, “of course it would be better if we improve the percentage to 55 percent.”
Regarding the prominent dry season wheat production there have been massive performance attained since the initiative was introduced, and to this end he hinted that the country will commence the grain export in the near future besides substituting the import of wheat, which consumes huge amounts of hard currency every year.
Abiy further said that the government has given ample attention to the agriculture development which he indicates that the sector financing has been blooming.
“From the total 267 billion birr credit, the facility 73 billion birr was taken by the agriculture sector, while the government has subsidized 15 billion birr for fertilizer. Such attention to the agriculture sector that is given by the government has managed to ease the international pressure,” he remarked.