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After receiving repeated complaints from people living near the National Tobacco Enterprise the Addis Ababa Environmental Protection Authority (AAEPA) closed the enterprise located in Sarbet because the smoke and odor being emitted by the company is harmful to people living around there.
The enterprise was ordered to plant treatment machines to restart the operation.
Dwellers in the area said the company discharges its waste in a normal drainage system and they suspect that the pollution has created problems with their respiratory system.
After closing the enterprise last Friday AAEPA officials told Capital that dust and waste coming through the company threatens human lives.
“We have warned them many times but they are not willing to do what we ordered and finally we were obliged to close it till the matter is solved with the right treatment plant.’’
The enterprise which lies on 20,000 square meters has also faced criticism for poor safety management and treatment of employees.
Capital’s effort to get an opinion from the enterprise was not fruitful.
Recently Forty percent of the enterprise was sold to Japanese tobacco giant, Japan Tobacco International.
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) won the open international bid for the partial acquisition of the National Tobacco Enterprise SC.
A year ago JTI acquired 40 percent of NTE with a record sale of USD 510 million. The deal was the second largest in the history of the country.
Currently JTI spends close to USD one billion on Ethiopia’s tobacco industry in just one year, through the privatization of NTE. They now own 70.95 percent share.
Currently, JTI has a presence in seven African countries, including Sudan, South Africa and Nigeria.
The number of smokers in Ethiopia is higher than most African countries due to its population size. More than 100,000 children and 2.3 million adults smoke cigarettes each day in Ethiopia, according the tobacco atlas – a compendium of research on tobacco use by the American Cancer Society and the World Lung Foundation. Over the past five years, the annual turnover of the NTE has continually increased by an average of 190 million Br. It offers five brands: Nyala, Gissila, Elleni, Delight and Nyala Premium. The company currently employs close to 1,000 workers.