Ethiopia megaprojects proceeding on schedule: PM

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Thursday that construction of several national megaprojects was proceeding on schedule.

"Some 40 percent of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction has been completed, while implementation performance of the Gibe III hydropower dam project [stands at] 89 percent and Genale Dawa III 66 percent," Desalegn told the lower house of parliament while presenting his mid-term report.

"The Adama Wind farm, a 275-megawatt capacity project being implemented at a rural area some 99km east of Addis Ababa, is also 89 percent complete," he said.

Ethiopia is planning to build a number of dams for electricity generation, including the $6.4-billion GERD, construction of which has strained relations with Egypt.

Ethiopia says it needs the dam to generate badly-needed energy. Egypt, for its part, fears the dam will reduce its traditional share of the Nile River – its main source of water.

Addis Ababa, however, insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Egypt and Sudan, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.

Desalegn said Ethiopian revenues from local resources had risen 16.4 percent within the past six months.

"We are seeing encouraging results in terms of revenue collection from local sources," he said.

The Ethiopian authorities, he added, had collected 69.5 billion Ethiopian Birr (roughly $3.4 billion) worth of tax and non-tax sources since last July 8, which marked the beginning of Ethiopia's new budget year.

This, the premier said, accounted for 55 percent of the annual revenue collection plan.

Desalegn went on to note that imports had registered a 42-percent increase over the past six months compared to the same period the previous budget year.

Certain commodity exports, however, fell over the same period, according to the prime minister.

"Export revenue from textiles, garments, fruits and vegetables, gold, leather and leather products and other export commodities are less than that of the same period last year," he said.

However, he added, "total export performance shows an increase of 4.6 percent compared to export earnings the same time last year, with the country earning some $60.3 million."

According to Desalegn, Ethiopia's performance and growth outlook is generally positive, with inflation rates remaining in the single digits.

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