Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Walk the talk!

Gov’t asks companies to materialize pledges for Renaissance Dam

The federal government calls on private companies and investors to pay, within two weeks, at least 75 percent of the amount they pledged to spend in buying the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam bonds.
The feds want the transfers to be completed by May, 8.
As the nation takes on the ambition of covering the dam’s 76 billion birr costs on its own, the private sector was enticed to share the burden by purchasing government floated bonds.
Investors across the board have responded enthusiastically, pledging to buy bonds worth hundreds of millions. However when it comes to walking the talk, more than few are slacking behind, prompting various federal government organs to send letters to the companies urging them to pay their dues.
The Industry Ministry last week sent out letters to various manufacturers. The ministry’s food and beverage subsector addressed 23 companies of which only five have completed purchasing the bonds, as they promised. A letter detailing who paid what and who is slacking behind; urging them to abide by their pledge was sent to these companies on April 19.
According to the letter Capital obtained, five companies from the food and beverage subsector paid in full.  
The Saint Gorge bottler B.G.I. Ethiopia comes first buying 20 million birr worth of bonds in what the letter describes as an ‘exemplary contribution.’
Assela Malt, Balezaf Alcohol, Awel Teha Flour and Yisuf Teha Flour Factories have all completed the purchases; contributing from 400,000  to two million birr.  These five are the only ones from 23 companies in the sub sector to complete the purchase.
Another ten have started, by the letter’s date, paying between 20 to 66 percent of their pledges which range from 200,000 birr to 2.2 million.
Eight companies have not made any payment so far.
Dashen Beer has pledged to buy 7.5 million birr worth of bonds. Until last week however the company has not started the payment.
Abay International is similarly yet to materialize a pledge worth 1.2 million birr; same is true about six other companies who pledged to buy one million birr worth of the Grand Renaissance Dam bonds. Among them are ASTCO Flour and Pasta Factory, Norch Private Limited Company, KOJJ Food Processing Complex/ Sarem Biscuit, Almaz Wakwoya & Family Food Complex, President Food Complex and Kebede Mirach Flour Factory.
So far it has not been disclosed how much the private sector has pledged in total. State employees across the board also gave one month of their salary, leading the national mobilization to reach billions according to some estimates.
Ethiopians in the Diaspora are also taking up their share for the construction of the dam that will have the capacity to generate 6,000 megawatts of electrical power.
Floated by the federal government bonds for the Diaspora are available for purchase in currencies of USD, Euros and Pounds Sterling. All Ethiopian nationals and foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin living and working outside Ethiopia can buy bonds as small as 50 dollars/ Euros/ pounds to support the financing of the dam.
Concerned neighbors have also started to contribute to the dam. Earlier this month the Port of Djibouti purchased one million dollars worth of bonds.
The government says some 13 percent of the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam is expected to be completed at the end of this Ethiopian fiscal year which ends by July 8, 2012.
The dam, a reservoir at 63 billion cubic meters, or simply put twice as big as Lake Tana, would be located on the Blue Nile River about 25 Km east of Sudan in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia.