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The Ethiopian Investment Agency is strengthening the various services offered by different federal executive offices provided under one roof.
Under the investment registration and license, Investment Proclamation 769/2012, the Agency has the mandate to offer 29 services most of which started in November 2012 being approved in September of the same year.
Since then, the agency has been offering 26 of these services at its one-stop shop which is expected to alleviate the problems encountered by investors during the registration and licensing process prior to the ratification of the proclamation.
The Agency introduced incentives in the form of exemption from the payment of customs duty, issuance of construction permits, notarization and amendment of Memorandum of Articles and Memorandum of Association, carrying out of commercial registration with renewal, amendment, replacement or cancelation of same, issuance of work permits to expatriate employees with renewal, replacement, suspension or cancelation of same, issuance of business license and grading of construction contractors. The Agency has yet to start issuing Tax Identification Numbers (TIN), effecting registration of trade or company names with amendments, replacement or cancelation.
According to Getahun Nega, the Agency’s Public Relations (PR) Director, the Agency will initiate the remaining services and strengthen the services being carried out in the very near future. “We cannot provide a specific time frame but it will be accomplished soon,” he told Capital. According to Getahun, many services are already being provided at the one-stop shop which needs strengthening. “We are trying to cater to the demand by providing these services, but we need to first set up offices and we are working on that rigorously. Commercial registration, for example, will not take time because we have already finalized preparations with the Ministry of Trade (MoT).”
As per the proclamation, seven government institutions including Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo), Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority, Ethio Telecom, Ministry of Industry (MoI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will all have desks at the one-stop shop.
The latest Investment Proclamation 769/2012 gives the Agency powers and duties of serving as a nucleus for matters of investment and promotion, coordinating and enhancing activities, initiating policy and implementation measures needed to create a conducive and competitive investment climate and following up on the implementation of same upon approval, negotiating bilateral investment promotion and protection treaties with other countries where potential investment is likely to flow into the country and sign treaties upon approval by the Council of Ministers, registering technology transfer agreements related to investments, register export oriented non-equity based collaboration agreements made between a domestic investor and foreign enterprises.
The Agency has also taken over the power and duty of issuing permits for duty-free imports for investment. However, the Agency is presently providing full services only for investments in the manufacturing sector according to Fitsum Arega Director of the Agency. Fitsum Arega was appointed to head the agency last year from his previous post as head of the Addis Ababa Investment Agency.