22 April 2014 News Briefs



New Petroleum Spills Bill Passes in Parliament


– The bill is designed to ensure that Ethiopia complies with accepted international petroleum practices




Parliament passed a bill on petroleum spills and the licensing & conduct of petroleum operations, on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, with a unanimous vote. This was despite 242 of the members being absent.

The quorum for the Ethiopian Parliament is more than half of the members attending, which, in this case, the 24th regular session of its fourth year, was exceeded by “31.5” members.

The bill, which became a law, demands that owners and custodians of petroleum notify the Ministry of Water, Irrigation & Energy (MoWIE) if more than 500lt of petroleum or petroleum products leak into the environment and take measures to clean it up. In cases where the government does the cleaning, they will be charged for the expense.

Under the previous law, custodians or owners were encouraged to report such incidents, but were not required to do so.

This requirement is meant to ensure that Ethiopia complies with accepted international practices related to petroleum products, said Zewdu Kebede, chairperson of the Trade Affairs Standing Committee, which, together with the Natural Resource & Environmental Protection Affairs Standing Committee, has been scrutinising the Bill.

The distributor must also set aside a reserve stock of no less than 500 cubic metres, the Bill requires.

“This is so as to have a reliable supply of petroleum products in the country,” Zewdu told the Parliamentarians.

The Ministry will also consider legal, technical and financial capacity and competence when issuing a certificate of competence.

The two Standing Committees studied the bill separately, convening together on March 26, 2014, to get explanations from Zewdu Tefera, Legal Affairs director, and Biruk Berhanu, Petroleum Affairs director, both at the Ministry, finally bringing the document to the House for voting.

Ethiopia imports 75pc of its benzene from Sudan; the rest of its demand, including fuel oil, kerosene, diesel and other petroleum products comes from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, according to data from the Ethiopian



Wonji Sugar Factory Signs New Agreement With Farmer’s Union


The Wonji Sugar factory and the Sugar Cane Producers’ Cooperatives Union in the surrounding area, in Oromia regional state has signed an agreement for the supply of sugar cane for a price of 50 Br per quintal. The company also has plans to increase the area used to produce sugar cane by six thousand hectares, out of which 75 pc will be cultivated by the farmers’ union.

The union renegotiates and signs a deal with the factory every three years. In the last such a deal (the 8th agreement) the farmers were able to sell their produce for 35 Br a quintal.

“The new price will be effective for products delivered from July 2013 up to June 2016,” Teshome Abera, deputy general manager of the Union, told Fortune.

During the agreement signing ceremony that was held on March 1, 2014 at Rift Valley hotel in Adama town in Oromia region, the director of sugar corporation which oversees sugar factories in the country, Shiferaw Jarso, says the factory will be ready for other engagements of large scale Ethanol production and cattle fattening that the union plans to start using the by-products of the company.



Electrification starts on Addis Ababa LRT lines


Electrification starts on Addis Ababa LRT lines

CHINA Railway Engineering Corporation has started work to electrify the 34.3km two-line light rail network under construction in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The electrification works include the installation of 850 masts, 143km of overhead catenary, and 18 sub-stations.


The east-west line is 17.4km long and runs from Ayat to Torhailoch, while the 16.9km north-south links Minelik Square with Kality. The two lines share a 2.7km common section between Meskel Square and Lideta. Construction started in 2012 and is now 60% complete.

CNR, China, is supplying a fleet of 41 70% low-floor LRVs to Addis Ababa. The first vehicles are due to arrive by the end of the year to allow three months of test running to start in January 2015. The lines will have a capacity of 15,000 passengers/hour/direction.

Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC), which is responsible for implementing the $US 475m project, plans to appoint a private operator to run the network. “We will seek for an internationally-recognised company to hire as a management contractor when we begin operations,” says ERC’s director general, Dr Getachew Betru. “The safety and security of our customers is our biggest priority.”



Kuriftu Resort & Spa Lay Groundwork for 400 million Expansion Project.


– The construction work for the resort in DebreZeit hinges on securing a CBE loan.


Kuriftu Resort & Spa has requested a 400 million Br loan from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) that it will use for the expansion of resort in DebreZeit.

The centre will be built on a 74,000sqm plot of land it leased a month ago, adjacent to the existing Kuriftu Resort & Spa, says Tadios Belete, who co-owns Kuriftu with his wife. This centre will be a village of 100 two-story houses, with the ground floor serving as a workshop for traditional artefacts and the top floor a guesthouse, he said. The centre has been designed by Bekure Studio, who has in the past designed the Bahir Dar and DebreZeit resort & spa centres.

The construction could begin in two months’ time if the loan is approved, Tadios said.

The centre will allow visitors access to workshops where they can see how 100 different traditional items are created, which they can also buy. Kuriftu’s revenue will come from artisans who can rent the workshops or from a share of items sold, both locally and through export, continued Tadios.

The centre will also have a conference room with three breakout rooms, bars, spa, a swimming pool, a traditional food corner and a restaurant.



Ethiopia eyes untapped rubber production potential


 Anadolu Agency

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia is currently carrying out a pilot project on more than 700 hectares of land in the southwestern Bench Maji region that officials hope will help turn the country into a major rubber producer.

“The pilot project launched in 1994/95 has so far consumed 100 million birr [roughly $5 million] from government coffers,” Dawit Mesfin, general manager of the Chemical Industry Corporation’s National Rubber Tree Development initiative, told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

“Three studies conducted prior to 1989 proved that there was potential in the southwestern part of the country to develop 84,000 hectares of land with rubber trees,” he said.

So far, rubber trees have been planted on only 270 hectares of land. But the project has already begun yielding rubber, said to be up to international quality standards.

Ethiopia spends as much as $600 million every year on the import of rubber products, including car tires.

“Now that the pilot project has proved a success… we hope Ethiopia will tap into this vital resource so as to save considerable hard currency expenditures,” he said.







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