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Ethiopian govt woos Nigerian investors

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Addis Ababa – Mr Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia on Sunday said his government has started discussing with some Nigerian investors to get them invest in the country.

Speaking at a forum with Addis Ababa-based Foreign journalists Zenawi said his government was happy to have  Nigerian investors  showing interest in Ethiopia.

“There is a group that is interested in cement manufacturing, but we are yet to conclude discussions on that.

“Nigeria has a very booming economy, so Nigerians don’t usually need to invest outside, they would rather invest in their country. It is a welcome development that they are showing interest to invest in Ethiopia,” the Prime Minister said.

Zenawi said he was optimistic that Nigerian investors would find Ethiopia  a conducive environment  for investment.

`Considering the good relationship that exists between the two governments, I am confident the two countries would continue to work together to enhance mutual economic developments in their countries in the spirit of African brotherhood,” he added.

Zenawi said government would continue to welcome foreign investors from within and outside the continent in its drive to boost the country’s economy and enhance job creation.

The Prime Minister  identified fiscal policy and importation as some factors responsible for the high rate of inflation in the country.

He also said monetary policy and inefficiency in the country’s wholesale sector were other factors responsible for the high rate of inflation.

`Government would continue to adopt measures to reduce the trend of high inflation,” he said

According to him, this has become imperative because inflation affects all sectors of human endeavour.

Zenawi further said shortages in the supply of goods, inefficient distribution and shortage in housing also contributed to the high prices of goods and services across the country.

`Government and the private sector have agreed on a price ceiling on some commodities but it seems that is not working.

`We will implement some contingency plans to reduce the inflation and also to reduce the artificial shortages created because of market inefficiencies especially in some identified consumables’’, he said.

Zenawi said while government had the power to control the prices of some commodities, it lacked the  power to control the high rent charges especially for residential accommodation in capital city and other regions.

`Government will however, concentrate in the construction of low cost houses and engage the real estate sector in the drive to provide adequate housing.

`We cannot put  caps for house rents, but will work with the real estate developers to find a way of mitigating the impacts high  rents on tenants,” he said.

Zenawi said the economic sector has performed well in the current fiscal year as the country’s export had increased to about 50 per cent, while its import increased to 30 per cent when compared with 2010 figures.

He said the country’s growth rate in the current financial year was 11 per cent, and that Ethiopia’s national reserve has gone above government target.

“This is as a result of the ability of the Central  Bank of Ethiopia to earn a huge amount of foreign exchange.

According to him, the recent hike in the pump price of petrol in the country was a result of the global hike in the price of crude oil following the ongoing political crises in the middle east and some East African countries.  (NAN)

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