GTP annual workshop emphasizes export promotion, diversification

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Addis Ababa, 4 April 2014 (WIC) - The annual GTP consultative workshop said emphasis would be given to export promotion and diversification in the remaining period.
Opening the day-long workshop held at UNECA Conference Centre yesterday, National Plan Commissioner Mekonnen Manyazewal said the focus during the remaining period of the GTP would be on increasing the production of diversified export commodities and creating a better competitive manufacturing sector.
Although one of the factors for the low performance of the country's export sector which declined by about 2.5 per cent in 2013 is the decline in international market prices of some export commodities, the major factor for the low export performance is limited supply and diversity to significantly expand the sector, he said.
Mekonnen said the emphasis on the remaining months of the GTP period should be on enhancing foreign exchange revenue generation via improving the domestic production capacity in general and further boosting agricultural and industrial production in particular.
“Improving the effectiveness of the implementation of the various export promotion policies is essential to accelerate export trade. The government and the private sector need to enhance their collective efforts to make a breakthrough in the country's export sector,” he noted.
Mekonnen also indicated that the past three years of the GTP period (2010/11-2012/2013) have witnessed an average economic growth of about 10 per cent and significant expansion in social services and infrastructural development.Gross enrollment rate in primary education has exceeded 95 per cent while the country has already achieved MDGs target of under-five child mortality in 2012/13 two years ahead of the target year of 2015.
Presenting the annual progress report, Finance and Economic Development State Minister Dr. Abraham Tekeste said the country could achieve the economic growth target for the GTP next year, if not this year.
“We have registered average 10 per cent economic growth annually during the last three years against the set target of 11 per cent. The difference is very marginal and we expect achieving it as per the schedule, if not by the end of this year,” he added.
The contribution of agriculture remains high with 43 per cent share for the growth during the stated period, Dr. Abraham said.
According to the State Minister, the country is set to achieve the MDG goal of reducing poverty level to 22.2 per cent by 2015. Though the share of tax revenue to the GDP has shown significant increase during the last three years, it still falls short of the Sub-Saharan average, he said.
Despite the considerable expansion and provision of power and telecom services, addressing the lingering challenges of quality and reliability is key in the remaining period, Dr. Abraham said.
Co-Chair of the Development Assistance Group (DAG) Dennis Weller on his part commended the significant development gains achieved so far and increased proportion of government expenditure with over 69 per cent spent on pro-poor sectors such as education, health, water and sanitation, agriculture and road infrastructure. “There is no doubt that the country is growing rapidly—one only has to look at the number of construction sites and new roads being built across the country. But if we are honest, the structural transformation of the Ethiopian economy, which is at the heart of the GTP, is less visible,” he emphasized.
Weller said the dynamism to unleash the potential in agriculture and other related sectors should be fully developed to create more jobs in the non-agricultural sectors for the country's youth.
For this to effectively happen in the remaining period, the private sector should be supported with more adequate credit provisions, he recommended. (EH)