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During its annual meeting, leaders of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) said members’ inactivity and insufficient support by the government is preventing the association from carrying out more activities tofoster businesses’ development.
The association, that organized 32 business to business meetings in the last year, is waiting for Addis Ababa City Administration to give it 64 hectares of land to construct a modern chamber house, estimated to cost a hefty 354 million euro. Decreasing contributions, lack of sufficient budget, workers’ dated skills and knowledge, and the vast array of unplanned activities the chamber undertakes were said to be the main reasons for the association’s underwhelming performance.
ECCSA, which had its 7th annual regular conference on September 18 at the Sheraton Addis Hotel, expended 14.5 million birr and received revenues of 14.7 million birr in the 2014/15 fiscal year from conference services. Out of the total revenue, membership fees made 468,012 birr only, a 50 percent decrease from the previous year’s contributions.
Solomon Afework, President of ECCSA said, “Though we made significant progress, there are many tasking improvements we are left with. Unlike in developed countries, being a member of the Chamber of Commerce is not mandatory in Ethiopia and that greatly affects ECCSA.”
He added that members’ active participation is important for the chamber to achieve its goals. “We know that the government wants the private sector’s support to sustain the country’s development and had done lots of things so far but that is not enough. The chamber is the most suitable platform the government use to connect with the private sector. So the government should put in more effort to strengthen the chamber if it wants to attract business people in the manufacturing, agriculture and service sectors.’’
Amendments the chamber made to its regulation during the latest meeting is deemed to reinvigorate its dwindling revenues by cultivating income sources and increasing members’ participation.
President Mulatu Teshome, in his opening address, expressed his appreciation for the chamber’s contributions to the country’s economic growth by organizing business meetings and bringing delegations. “Honestly speaking, I am proud of what you have done and our plans on paper are incomplete without the participation of the private sector. Just like we did before, we will continue giving loans, land and supply power to get more from this sector,’’ he said.
The association gave certificates to different government offices in recognition of the support they have provided. Including President Dr. Mulatu Teshome, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom, State Minister of Industry Tadesse Haile, Minister of Trade Kebede Chane, and State Minster of Foreign Affairs Dewanno Kider were given recognition.
Following the certificate ceremony was a blundered attempt by the organizers to donate 100,000 birr to the Kidney Dialysis Association, as the organizers forget to bring the check to be handed over to actor and goodwill ambassador of the Dialysis Association, Giroum Ermias.