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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

We Can Not Feed Ourselves !!!!!

Tedla Asfaw

I watched Meles Zenawi's  one hour video of economics of importing, oil, sugar and wheat in Ethiopia. Wait a minute, Ethiopia can not produce sugar, oil and wheat ?. I am not talking about petroleum here I mean oil for food. As far as I am concerned even during Derg time, oil and sugar were produced in Ethiopia. In fact Ethiopians who studied in the then Soviet Union told me that they saw packets of "Wonji Sugar" with elephant mark produced in Wonji, Ethiopia in Russian markets. However, when they told their classmates about being the product of  Ethiopia no one believed them. Then high tech product maybe ?

When it comes to oil, I still remember going to nearby distributors that were selling sesame oil produced in Ethiopia. What happen now in Meles Zenawi  led Ethiopia ? Those who went for a short visit to Ethiopia informed us that they found stores filled with foreign oil and sugar among many imported food products. I wonder who buys them ?  We know a litre of edible oil here in USA at present is on average less than three dollar, one kg of sugar is less than two dollar, a kg of whole wheat more than two dollar.

Poor Ethiopia is now wasting its foreign currencies on buying sugar, oil and wheat on world market as we all know all these items were produced in our country before TPLF took over twenty yeas ago. On this week as TPLF celebrates its 20 years of rule Ethiopians are still talking about how and where to get basic food items. Lines for basic food items is now a national pastime for Ethiopians. I did not forget chewing "Chat".I suggest "Chat" to be considered in Ethiopia's Commodity Exchange to bring much needed revenue for the government. If it is exported like  lentils we will have foreign currency flight then. 

Mind you this discussion for the majority of our people is meaningless. Because practically they can not afford to buy imported sugar, oil and wheat . Meles Zenawi on his one hour lecture for business community told merchants to distribute these products with "reasonable price". The importer is the "government" most likely the EFFORT babies. 

Ethiopia's economy is now in total disaster. The proof for that is, it can not even feed its own people. Talk about  manufacturing based on  homegrown capital which is currently diverted to service sector for which the business community is accused for tax evasion and other crimes is absurd. The manufacturing sector is under the control of TPLF owned EFFORT and Sheik Al Amoudi of Saudi Arabia.The blame for capital not flowing to manufacturing sector is these two dinosaurs beside lack of transparency and rule of law.

The small business community in service sector is taking the example of TPLF's business empire, EFFORT. EFFORT totally control most of the manufacturing and service center of Ethiopia's economy. The book of EFFORT is closed for public and even to the people of Tigray in whose name it operates. Where does the the profit from EFFORT goes ? 

According to UNDP study 8.4 billion dollar went out of Ethiopia illegally in the last two decades. If you subtract the 2 billion dollar Meles alleged went out of real state developers he should at least admit the "6.4 billion" unaccounted belongs to EFFORT. In a country where there is no free press and  independent judiciary no investigation can be carried out to find the truth. It seems to me that the 2 billion dollar "income" from real state business is a well designed hypothesis forwarded by Meles Zenawi to suggest that "we" are all here together on the business of "fraud".

The bottom line is this, Ethiopian economy is driven not by visionaries to build the country and to alleviate from deep poverty our country has been known for many generations. We all know China brought more than 200 million  people out of poverty since it has become the manufacturing capital of the world in the last two decades alone. What did TPLF did in the last two decades ?

TPLF failed in the last twenty years managing our economy. The so called "Yelemate Mengiste" a Developmental State is now officially named "Asmechi Mengste", meaning Importing State. We might add to that Selling State which is in business of leasing up to 6 million hectares for foreign land grabbers on a dollar per hectare. Where is the book for all to see ?

Ethiopia's economy is so stupid that it is only a matter of time before it follows the Ziad Bares fate Meles quoted many times on his lecture. Yes many of Somali merchants who benefited from Ziad ruled Somalia are now in Dubai. I am sure  many of TPLF connected business people have home there too.

Meles Zenawi has confessed that his regime failed to bring bread and butter to our people. The high rises many of TPLF supporters see, we all see and touch have not changed the lives of millions even in Addis Ababa who go to bed every night hungry. The good advice I will give to Meles Zenawi is to step down this week after he makes a speech for his supporters on their 20 year of unfulfilled promises. Let him be the first ruler in Ethiopia to give power peacefully, why not ?