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PM Abiy Ahmed formed privatization advisory council

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed formed an advisory council to promote, he says, transparency and accountability of in the process of transferring public business enterprises to the private sector. Maaza Biru is in the council.

Abiy Ahmed _Service Delivery

August 3,2018

Ethiopian Prime minister Abiy Ahmed disclosed, through his chief of staff in the office of the prime minister, that he has formed an advisory council for the privatization of state-owned business enterprises and agencies.

Fitsum Aregaa tweeted: “H.E PM Abiy Ahmed has set up an Advisory Council on the privatization of large state-owned enterprises. The Council will ensure the process is managed with utmost transparency and accountability. Current members include the following: #Ethiopia”

The advisory council has twenty-one members and draws its membership from business people, financial experts, media people, and politicians.

The prime minister’s stated objective about assigning an advisory board is to ensure transparency and accountability in the course of the privatization scheme.

Yet, his selection of politicians is seemingly intended to reflect not just ethnic diversity but also diversity in terms of political convictions; there are ethno-nationalist politicians and there are also those who tend to oppose political mobilization on the basis of ethnicity. Further, he has included in the advisory council both popular and controversial politicians (For example Lidetu Ayalew and Ambassador Girma Birru).

If the prime minister is undertaking an experiment to promote the idea of bringing Ethiopians of diverse political convictions to work together, his choice is may be a right one.

The presence of popular figures like Meaza Birru, whose name is prominent as a media person, and Eyesuswork Zafu, a notable businessman, will definitely boost the credibility of the council.

He has also financial experts, who used to run and are running the National Bank of Ethiopia, on board.

His government announced in early June that it is privatizing, partially, state-owned businesses like Ethiopian Airlines and Ethiopian Shipping line, among others. Notable Ethiopians in the country including economists, like Kebour Ghenna, have been voicing concern that certain service sectors need to remain under public sphere. Despite Ethiopians are supportive of prime minister Abiy Ahmed administration, they do not seem to like his privatization idea especially when it comes to privatizing Ethiopian Airlines.

Members of the advisory board, as tweeted by Fitsum Aregaa, are as follows:

Eyesuswork Zafu
Zelalem Melssie
Alemayehu Seyoum
Maaza Biru
Bekele Gelleta
Abebe Aemiroselassie
Lidetu Ayalew
Prof. Beyene Petros
Bekelle Gerba
Sara Aberra
Dr. Aynalem Megersa
Prof. Tasew Woldehana
Tsegaye Berhe
Dr. Tegegnework Gettu
Ato Kassi Kebede
Ato Lencho Batti
Dr. Abraham Tekeste
Dr. Yinager Dessie
Ato Teklewold Atnafu
Ambassador Girma Birru

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