The fifth general assembly of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) concluded among mixed appreciations and controversial emotions. The board received approval on several issues it undertook in the past one and half years at this first general assembly since the current board took office one and half year ago.
One of the issues considered as a major success by members of the general assembly and observers is the building ownership and the distribution of office space for member chambers and sectoral associations. A month after the board led by Mulu Solomon was elected in December 2011, it solved the building ownership dispute between ECCSA and the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACCSA) that was unresolved since the headquarters was returned by the government in 2008.
The building issue was one of the major subjects discussed on the general assembly held on Tuesday February 5 at the Hilton Hotel. The national chamber board and the city chamber have solved the issue with the latter acceding ownership to the national chamber with the provision that AACCSA, the Oromia Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association, and the national and city sectoral associations will be provided with office space in the building located across Mexico Square.
While some participants and observers appreciated the measure taken by the board, other regional association members criticised it. The representatives from regional chambers said that the board had not informed the other chambers of the measure it had taken before it disclosed its decision to the public. They complained that it did not have the mandate to make such a decision without discussing it and receiving the approval of other member chambers.
According to the ECCSA president’s annual report, the major difference with regards to procedure was between the national chamber and the Tigray Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association. “After the discussion between the two parties in Mekelle, Tigray the two chambers have resolved their differences,” stated the report that was read by Junedi Basha, vice president of ECCSA, at the conference. Despite the fact that the issue was resolved, one of the representatives from the Tigray chamber said that it was still a question of legality and that the whole affair lacked transparency.