(Source: The Reporter, By Sisay Sahlu, 26 December 2020) –
In the aftermath of operations by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) to restore rule of law in the Tigray region, several businesses in the region put in a request to the government for a swift compensation for the loss and damages they have incurred during the operation.
In a meeting held late on Friday, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) consulted business owners and managers from the Tigray region on ways of addressing the problems companies faced during the operation.
Officials of the Ministry noted that 93 giant enterprises and nearly 6700 small and medium enterprises are found in the region, and that a task force has been established to conduct a survey and investigate the cost of damages to reinvigorate factories into normal production.
Participants of the meeting raised issues including the closure of banks, internet and electricity blackouts, road closures and demurrage costs in Djibouti port along with the cost of scorched businesses and robberies that amount to hundreds of millions of birr.
Abera Tasew, shareholder of Sabana irrigation and AJJ diary, lamented the burning of properties and the stealing of 500 dairy cattle in Raya.
He requested the government for a bailout to restart business immediately. However, he reflected his frustrations by stating his doubts on whether to carry on with his previous business unless the government takes a swift measure.
Sheba Leather Industry Marketing and business development manager, Zerabruk G/Michael, bemoaned the government’s operation.
According to Zerabruk, over 100 million birr worth of property has been lost due to burglary and fire at the factory, stressing the need for government support in finance and easing official procedures at customs and financial institutions.
Semayata Dimensional Stones Marketing Manager, Tigest Fantahun, was among one of the participants asking officials to make financial arrangements to re-establish the factory built with the latest machinery brought from Europe.
The factory, found in Wuqiro, had at least 500 employees, Tigist said. However, she is scared that the machinery might not be restored and become functional once again.
Tigest said “even if we say the machinery will work after restoration, the employees we brought from Albania and Italy went to their country fearing for their safety.”
The State Minister of Trade and Industry, responding to questions of business owners and managers, reiterated the government’s commitment to support Tigrayan businesses affected by the operation.
According to the State Minister, the government will avail financial support and Forex for companies that are ready to get back into action in a short time.
He further asked firms to report their damages to the Ministry.