The following contents are all about the guarantee issues of investors; from protection to investment laws and labour laws and partnership.
The Government encourages foreign investors to invest in a broad range of industries which allows foreigners to hold up to 100% equity ownership. According to the investment Proclamation, investors are legally protected against the expropriation and nationalization of assets. In addition to this, Ethiopia has ratified the convention establishing the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank Group. It has also signed bilateral investment promotion agreements with a number of OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries.
The investment proclamation allows all foreign investors, whether they receive incentives or not, to freely remit profits and dividends, principal and interest on foreign loans, and fees related to technology transfer. Foreign investors may also remit proceeds from the sale or liquidation of assets, from the transfer of shares or of partial ownership of an enterprise, and funds required for debt service or other international payments. The right of expatriate employees to remit their salaries is granted in accordance with the foreign exchange regulations of the National Bank of Ethiopia.
Both foreign and domestic private entities have the right to establish, acquire, own, and dispose of most forms of business enterprises.
Land for investment purposes is obtained on lease and with prices set by periodic auctions. Land leasehold regulations vary in form and practice from region to region. Nonetheless, they all are best in attracting investments. Land could be obtained by paying nominal or fair charges. In some priority investment areas, land could be availed even free of charges. There are also industrial zones with adequate infrastructure facilities.
Ethiopia works hard to combat corruption through a combination of social pressure, cultural norms, and legal restrictions. Although corruption exists, it is not a significant hindrance to investment or trade in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia enjoys labor peace. The right to form labor associations and to engage in collective bargaining is granted by law. Workers who provide critical services like health care are not permitted to strike. The labour law has been revised to provide for strong work culture, discipline and efficiency while safeguarding basic labour rights.
Foreign firms are welcome to invest in privatization efforts of the Ethiopian government.Since Ethiopia has launched the new market-oriented Economic Policy in 1992, it has embarked upon the privatization of state-owned enterprises as an integral part of the broader macro-economic reform.
Domestic and Foreign investors are encouraged to participate in the privatization process. In order to accomplish the privatization process, the former Ethiopian Privatization Agency is fused with the Public Enterprises Supervising Authority and has been re-established as Privation and Public Enterprises Supervising Authority (PPESA) since August 2004. Under PPESA there are well over 110 public enterprises for partnership and privatization in almost all sectors of the economy.
PPESA is also working towards attracting foreign private partners for joint venture, management contract and lease arrangements with public enterprises. This is in addition to sale option for public enterprises.
PPESA is looking for domestic/foreign public/private partners for most of the public enterprises it is supervising. In this regard, textile and garment, leather & leather products, food processing, construction and agro-industries are given priority for partnership. Those who are capable, experienced and committed investors are seriously looked for partnership. It is believed that working with the existing enterprises would reduce investment requirement and risks to new partners. There is also huge profit potential to be earned by proper utilization of time and resources. Of course, there is a challenge to be overcome.
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