Nation Finalizing Preparations to Privatize 10 Sugar Factories

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Addis Ababa, May 22/2020 (ENA) Ethiopia is finalizing preparations to privatize 10 of its 13 sugar factories, according to Ministry of Finance.

The ministry stated that only environmental and social impact assessment studies of the factories need to be completed.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Finanace State Minister Eyob Tekalign said almost all the required work for privatizing the factories are done despite the delay due to the pandemic.

“Asset evaluation is completed, business evaluation of 13 projects is completed; and we have developed a marketing strategy on how to transfer these assets and more importantly the Ministry of Finance has looked on how to restructure the debts of the sugar corporation so that the transfer can be smooth,” he elaborated.

After the completion of the final studies underway, 10 of the 13 sugar factories with the exception of the old sugar factories Metehara, Fincha, and Wonji, will be privatized, the state minister pointed out.

Furthermore, Eyob revealed that the process of privatizing the sugar factories and other sectors, including energy, logistics, and industrial park, is continuing even in this difficult time.

Ministry of Finance Senior Advisor, Brook Taye said the 10 sugar factories are not fully functional even if the commercial loan and the debt money spent on them is due now.

“The payment for the debts is due now and we are paying these as a country. But the factories are not producing as much as one would expect them to do. They have a capacity to produce 5,000 tons of cane per day, but they are producing only 4,000. There is a massive mismatch,” Brook pointed out.

The government cannot continue funding these projects, the senior advisor said, adding that the decision to privatize them will bring various benefits to the nation.

According to him, it is better to bring in the private sector to complete and effectively run the factories and generate foreign currency for the country. “We will then be importing sugar for the last time and be net exporter for the region. In all our neighboring countries there is a 350,000 metric ton sugar deficit which we can fill,” he noted.

Among the factories to be privatized are Wolqayt, Omo Kuraz 2, 3 and 5, Tendaho, Kessem, and Arjo Dediessa.