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At the Ministry of Industry’s (MoI) request the manufacturing sector has been busy developing a document to reveal their production capacity, their actual input demand and performance in the preceding year Capital learnt.
A week ago MoI asked leaders in the manufacturing sector via their association to submit their activity and letter of credit (LC) demand, according to sources. People working in Manufacturing that Capital spoke with stated they have been developing the document that MoI requested. According to the sector actors, most of them have already submitted their hard currency requests and actual operational capacity and performance in the past week.
The sector has been seriously affected by the hard currency shortage for the past a year and half.
Chemical and steel makers rely heavily on importing materials to make their products and at the same time are considered major sources of import substitution. During the recent industrial exhibition held at Millennium Hall in June leaders of manufacturing companies and relevant government officials submitted their challenges to the Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen. The hard currency shortage was considered the main prority, during the discussions with the Deputy PM.
Bogale Feleke, State Minister for the Ministry of Industry, told Capital that they are working hard to address the challenges faced by the manufacturing industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of people.
“In our appearance at the parliament to deliver the current year’s plan we have stressed that the government needs to closely follow the sector, particularly the hard currency challenges that it faces,” he added.
He confirmed that MoI asked the industries to come up with their capacity, demand and previous year’s performance.
“Our operation in the past budget year indicates our capacity since the hard currency shortage seriously affects the activity,” an industrialist told Capital.
During a Thursday meeting with officials from MoI statements indicated that the manufacturing industry was operating at 11 percent of its actual capacity in the 2017/18 budget year.
The State Minister said that the ministry asked the manufacturers for their capacity to allow for a fair hard currency distribution in the coming period.
According to sources, the ministry asked the manufacturers after a request from the National Bank of Ethiopia.
It is expected that hard currency would be allocated to manufacturers mainly for export oriented and import substitutions. The state ministry declined to state the exact period when the factories would get the foreign currency.
“We are waiting for the hard currency,” manufacturers told Capital.
Recently the government received the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development which allocated USD one billion in cash and an additional USD two billion for FDI from UAE. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) stated that the country is securing significant hard currency from partners as well.