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Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Ethiopia is starting a study to charge fees from different companies and individuals who directly and indirectly generate income by using the natural resources of the country.
The study which begins its pilot project on the lakes of Hawassa and Zeway is targeting resorts, flower farming, irrigation using farms and boat owners. The pilot project study is expected to be completed in the next six months.
In the long run the study aims to charge payment from different government hydroelectric dams that use the natural resources of the country.
Although Ethiopia doesn’t currently apply any ecosystem payment, some companies construct schools and give aid to the communities on willingness bases.
A source in the ministry told capital that the payments for ecosystem services will enable the country to do more jobs for communities.
“The driving idea behind ecosystem fees is that the provision of environmental services that provide a public benefit should be recognized financially. The model is an attempt to assign a financial value to critically important services such as the provision of clean water or maintenance of biodiversity, and thus develop a market-based solution to environmental problems” the source said.
“Look, when one company plants its factory near a river or a lake, it forces people and animals to stop drinking from it. Resorts gain a lot of money and attract customers by constructing their hotels near lakes but they don’t pay anything in return. And charging some amount of money will add value for the community.”
According to the source, findings of the study will be forwarded to the Council of Ministers for ratification.
“We are starting the study and we will look at how much the lake contributes to their income, how many people are affected due to the opening of these resorts, how many lose their jobs and so on. We will then calculate these costs and determine the payment but it will not be a uniform fee. We can not charge the same amount of money for companies who discharge their wastages into rivers and for agriculture firms which use the water for irrigation’’ the source added.