Government waits a decade for unpaid pre-privatization debts


The Board of Trustees for Public Enterprises (BTPE) announced that over two billion birr in government money has not been gathered so far from 60 different companies which were privatized.
“Before the government privatized these companies there were different transactions. This revenue amounts to around 2 billion birr and belongs to the government. However, the people who owe the money have failed to bring it to the government despite the fact that we have been waiting for them for over ten years,” Zwedu Zafu, director of BTPE said.
Gonder Printing and Anbessa Flour and Pasta factory are among the companies missing revenue and income before they were privatized.
“The current owners of the companies have nothing to do with this money because this is unpaid money we were owed before they bought the company. Now we are formally asking high government officials if we should forgive this debt or ask the people who were administrators at the time of sale to pay us,” he said.
He added that the government privatized 263 companies in the last 25 years and currently the enterprise is working on liquidating Tikur Abay Construction SC and the National Engineers and Contractors Enterprise (NECE)
Zwedu said that the enterprise paid a 6.7 million birr debt to government institutions but now it has sold the business to the private sector and gathered 5.5 million birr in six months selling different properties which were not part of the privatization deal.
In 2015 The Ministry of Finance and Economic Commission (MoFEC) commissioned a study to determine whether existence of a Board of Trustees for Public Enterprises was necessary.
MoFEC has said that the existence of the board is crucial to speeding up the privatization process.
The Board of Trustees for Public Enterprises was established in 2000 in accordance with proclamation number 208/2000 that replaced the old Board of Trustees for Privatized Public Enterprises.
The trustee board for Privatized Public Enterprises that was established in 1996 was a responsible government body that followed the privatization or dissolution process of formerly government-owned entities.