EUBFE Released Early COVID-19 Early Impact Assessment

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EUBFE conducted a survey to assess the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its member companies in Ethiopia. Key findings of the survey indicate that eventhough the on set of the virus was late in Ethiopia, witht the first case reported in mid-march, its impact was sharp and significant to many. Moreover, data indicated that at this early level estimation, many companies expect to recover from its impact in around a year's time. Concerns over safety and security were also flagged. To read the full report please follow the link below.

The Ethiopian Investment Commission Launched online portal to service investment permits and renewals

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The online portal intends to provide services including: request for new investment permit certificate, request for commercial registration certificate, application for expansion of existing investment permit or existing business license, application to renew investment permit and replace the investment permit certificate.

In addition, application for tax holiday incentive support of eligible projects, application for duty-free incentive support qualified projects were among the other services mentioned.

For more information please visit the web portal at https://www.invest-ethiopia.com/

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EUBFE took part in the annual summit of EU Chambers in Brussels

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As a member of global alliance of EU Chambers called European Business Organizations Worldwide Network (EBOWWN), the EUBFE attended a general assembly meeting at the EU Commission from June 17-19, 2019.

In his opening remark, Mr. Eric Mamer, Director of DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) of the European Commission highlighted the key contributions European Chambers make to expanding EU companies’ reach to third markets. Moreover, the US-China trade war has also brought into about a potential paradigm shift on global trade focus on developing EU industrial policy that would support the internationalization of EU companies. Free Trade Agreements with various EU partners is also gaining traction as a result.

The three-day intensive meeting saw election of new board members for EBOWWN, bilateral meetings with DG for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), DG for Energy (DG ENER), European External Action Service (EEAS) as well as Business Europe and Eurochambers. The discussion focused on EU’s position on internalization of EU businesses, funding plans on the new MFF in this connection as well as possibilities for cooperation on sustainable energy investments with Africa. Two visits at the EU parliament also saw delegates from EBOWWN discussing with representatives of parliamentarians and commissioners on the state of affairs of the ever-expanding network of EU chambers and how to cooperate further for maximum impact for companies who’ve invested outside the EU. EBOIMG 2714IMG 2732

Public-Private Dialogue between foreign businesses and Ethiopian government is in its final stage of preparation

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The development of the second public-private dialogue (PPD2) has seen two key issues distilled for discussion with the relevant high-level Ethiopian authorities; taxation& auditing and logistics & clearance. EUBFE, which co-chairs the technical team comprising of foreign business associations tasked at developing the issues for PPD, has worked tirelessly to collect, analyze and finally present the final list of challenges to the Ethiopian Investment Commission for approval. As soon as date for the high-level PPD is decided, members shall be informed. It is to be recalled that the previous PPD deliberated on Forex and Business Visa issues with the National Bank of Ethiopia and the Immigration and Nationality Affairs Authority, resulting in a the introduction of numerous forex management directives and the launch of e-visa.

EUBFE represented EU businesses in Ethiopia at a global summit of EU Chambers in Brussels

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EUBFE took part in an annual summit of global European Chambers of commerce hosted by the European Commission’s Directorate for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG-GROW). The three days summit brought together more than 30 Eurochambers from around the globe with EUBFE among the three active Eurochambers in Africa to attend.

Two days of the summit were dedicated to discussions with representatives of the various European Commission’s directorates and representatives of the EU parliamentarians regarding improved collaboration between EU chambers and EU trade negotiations, future plan of the commission and potential for collaboration and other pertinent developments that are relevant to EU businesses operating outside the EU economic zone.

The concluding date saw general assembly meeting of European Business Organizations Worldwide network (EBOWWN), to which is a full member since 2017. The EBO Worldwide Network stands as the sole organization representing European business interests in markets outside the European Union. It represents a network active in over 35 key markets that serves European multinationals, as well as micro, small, medium and large enterprises. European chambers of commerce and European business associations within the EBO Worldwide Network work on a daily basis with European Union delegations across the globe in the shared interest of supporting European companies.

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Where does EU investment size stand in Ethiopia? Draft report presented following general assembly meeting and networking of EUBFE

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On April 13, 2018 EUBFE members held their first annual meeting which was followed by thematic networking.

The event saw an annual activity and financial report of 2017 and plans for 2018 by the executive director, Mr. Nahom F. Abraham. External audit report was part of the report by the executive director. The general assembly ratified both planning for 2018 and audit report.

Following the general assembly meeting, a presentation on the findings of the EU business mapping study conducted in collaboration between EU delegation and EUBFE was made by Mr. Carl Daspect, economic attaché at the EUD-Ethiopia.

In his presentation Mr. Carl indicated that the goal of this joint study is to periodically measure the level of EU investments in Ethiopia so that the joint work of EUD and EUBFE in the dialogue with Ethiopian authorities can be facilitated and more targeted. In addition to the EU business mapping study, two sectoral analyses (pharmaceutical and logistics) were developed and made available to EUBFE members.

Despite significant challenges in availability and reliability of data as well as disparities in definitions and standards of FDI, the draft report was able to depict a picture of EU investment size, employment trends, nature of ownership and geographical coverage. To this end, the report found that the EU block investment stands third in terms of FDI stock position, behind Chinese and Turkish investment, with an FDI stock of approximately 310 mln USD. 70% of EU investments are in the manufacturing sector, a priority sector of the Ethiopian government, creating more than twenty thousand permanent and close to thirty thousand temporary job opportunity. About 60% of EU investments are in Addis Ababa with the Oromia region accounting for about 27%. Unlike other FDI, EU investments were found to account to about 50% joint investment form, indicating willingness and interest of EU companies to collaborate with local ones. Following comments and suggestions by participants, Mr. Daspect reiterated that the final draft shall incorporate the suggestions made during the event with the refined report made available soon.

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Joint Workshop between EUBFE and Ethiopian Customs Commission Delivered

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A joint workshop organized in collaboration with the Ethiopian Customs Commission was held on April 15, 2021 The basis of this workshop is the list of specific issues that were submitted by the EU Business Forum to the commission, following a mini survey disseminated amongst members. Some 40 logistics managers and staff members from EUBFE member companies took part. From the Customs Commission’s side, a number of directors including Mrs. Abeba Kiros- Director, Strategic Partnership Directorate, Ato Endashaw Temesgen -Director, Import goods procedure and support directorate as well as Mrs. Gennet Abreham - Director, Manufacturer and Export Trade Procedure and Support took the podium to lead the Q&A session.

The objectives of the workshop were
• to present the key systems that are instituted that would enable swift release of goods, within the 10/15 days deadline
• to discuss on the issues and challenges submitted by member companies, including but not limited to o repetitive inspections, rejection of transaction values, LC extension related challenges, duty free imports privilege rejection, lack of clarity on investment on logistics sector, missing HS codes on single window and consolidation of goods

Based on the queries raised by participants, the panelists as well as the other invited guests from ECC provided detailed explanation upon the return of participants from health break. The explanations were made by the panelists as well as Ato Habtamu Tilahun from Legal Directorate, Mr. Behailu Bedasso (lead valuation expert) from Valuation Directorate, Ato Sebsbie Fekade from ESW (team coordinator), Mr. Zewdu Tsehay from transit and warehouse directorate (lead expert) and Ato G/Egziabher G/Tsadik (deputy manager) from Kality Customs branch.

A summary of the responses is as below.

  • Price valuation is tolerated if it falls between 5-10% of ECVS. Regardless, the ECVS is being updated to reflect current prices and add new commodities; it is now at a pilot stage
  • Companies need to supply complete documents to enable ECC assessors make informed decision. In this regard, for ECC to be convinced of transaction value, sales contract needs to be submitted on top of LC and commercial invoices.
  • Price valuation remains a contentious area.
  • The first 4-6 digits of HS code are usually the same globally and the remaining will differ according to country context. Transiters should have the ability to navigate this.
  • The Ethiopian Single Window system (ESW) is currently serving the business community. Some 16 companies, mainly banks and insurance companies operate within this framework. Training is being provided to the business community on ESW on a continuous bases and based on needs experts will be happy to extend one to EUBFE members.
  • In situations where system failure happens in partner organizations, like Ministry of Agriculture, the ESW secretariat will be happy to intervene to support business in clearing their commodities on time.
  • The 10/15 days deadline kicks in on the day T-1 is validated. This means the day the shipment arrives in its designated warehouse, be it in Modjo, airport or even ECC certified duty-free warehouses.
  • Pre arrival clearance is indeed actively applied although some transiters do not seem to use this opportunity. However, it is one area that is targeted for improvement since it lacks harmonization across branches and does not meet international standard.
  • ECC is committed to developing the capacity of its staff. It also takes note that some of the challenges are rooted in absence of the right skills. ECC is open to partner with stakeholders including the private sector to this end.
  • The issue of expanding the privileges being an AEO to other government agencies has been tabled for consideration at the prime minister’s office. In this manner, law abiding companies will have significant benefits.

Joint Workshop between EUBFE and Ministry of Revenues Held

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A joint workshop organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Revenues was held on January 29, 2021 at the BestWesten Plus Hotel in Addis Ababa. The workshop focused on Auditing, tax compliance and related issues. It attracted more than 40 finance managers, drawn from member European companies. 

This workshop falls within the memorandum of understanding signed between EUBFE and the ministry to bolster relationship between member companies and the ministry. A small survey was conducted at the end of 2020, that brought some problematic areas in the tax administration that gave rise to the design and the delivery of this workshop.

Hence, the major objectives of the workshop were

  • enable participants grasp the basics of risk-based audit
  • to equip participants on basic assumptions taken into consideration on frequency of audit
  • exchange experiences on audit work between European companies and auditors of MoR and identify areas that require better collaboration

The Ministry of Revenues was represented by five directors;

  1. Ato Kebede Lidetu- Director, Risk and Compliance
  2. Ato Birhanu Kebede-Director, Tax Audit Management
  3. Ato Sisay Gezu-Director Tax Fraud Investigation
  4. Wro. Abaynesh Abate- Directress, Tax Debt Management
  5. Ato Dereje Meonnen- Director Filing and Return Processing

All the directors made a brief presentation on the major tasks of their respective directorates and the challenges encountered in expediting their responsibilities. 

The discussion that ensued addressed concerns raised by participants in the areas of VAT fund delay, frequency of audit, withholding tax, capacity of auditors and related tax administration concerns.

Follow this link to download the full content of the workshop: https://eubfe.eu/images/Minutes-_Workshop_on_Audit_and_Tax_Compliance_29.01.21.pdf 

EUBFE Addressed Participants during Investment Engagement Summit Organized by EIC

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20201211 161046The EU Business Forum took part in an investor engagement summit organized by the Ethiopian Investment Commission on December 11, 2020. The summit aimed at presenting the major legal reforms undertaken during the year to improve the business climate while also conferring with investors on current challenges. The summit was opened by key note addresses from HE Lelise Neme Commissioner of Investment Commission and Mr. Erik Habers, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation in Ethiopia. The board chairman of EUBFE, Mr. Ben Depraetere, then addressed the audience on key accomplishments and engagement of EUBFE as well as areas of collaboration that need further strengthening.
The EIC presented key reforms in the investment climate, including the new investment law and regulation. This law created negative listing of investment areas, that clearly delineate areas of investment reserved for local and joint investment, allowing FDI to participate otherwise. Moreover, the law establishes an investment board, that for the first time allows the private sector two seats.
You may click on the following link below to find out detailed changes enacted via the new investment law.
Following presentation on major legal and economic reforms as well as on investor aftercare service a panel discussion ensued. Existing challenges European Companies face, including access to forex, tax and customs were discussed. The EIC pledged to continue to support European investors and to such effect has assigned a contact person that would look after European FDI. Moreover, it was indicated that more sustained investor-enagement will be pursued in the years to come. 

EUBFE Held Consultative E-Meeting with the new EIC Commissioner

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The new commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) held consultative meeting with the board of the EUBFE and the EU Delegation
Hosted by HE Ambassador Johan Borgstam, head of the EU delegation to Ethiopia, the meeting was the first since HE Ms. Lelise Neme took helms at the commission
Following round of introductions and congratulatory messages on the appointment of HE Lelise from HE Ambassador Borgstam and Mr. Depraetere-Chair of EUBFE, representatives of the EU delegation and the EUBFE made power point presentations on the previous and current engagements of their respective institutions with the EIC.

On the discussion that ensued, EUBFE members indicated that despite the robust relationship established with the EIC and the tangible results registered, in particular via the public-private-dialogue (PPD) platform, a number of concerns of European FDI community remain unresolved. In addition to a more recent concern that is investment security, work permit renewal, logistical bottlenecks, foreign exchange shortage and uneven application of regulations and laws were pointed out. In response, HE Lelise pointed out that multi-regional forum, led by regional presidents and investment commissioners, has been established to oversee any concerns that might arise by investors and EIC will be happy to invite EUBFE to attend an upcoming meeting. Moreover, Commissioner Lelise promised to dedicate personnel and time to look into the challenges raised by EUBFE. In conclusion, EUBFE invited HE to an introductory meeting with members of EUBFE.

EUBFE held its first thematic networking event of 2020 on the sidelines of its general assembly

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EUBFE’s general assembly held on February 27, 2020 saw approval of external audit report of FY 2019 as well as review and approval of annual plan for 2020. Major strategic focus for the year 2020 include expansion of membership base, enhance engagement and advocacy work as well as add new services and ventures. The EU Delegation in Ethiopia has pledged some 300 thousand euros worth of technical assistance towards improving EUBFE and this was officially announced at the general assembly. This is believed to be an important contribution towards realizing the key strategic goals set by the board of management of EUBFE.

Following the general assembly, a thematic networking event that focused on the implementation of the new customs legislation took place. It was hosted in partnership with EUBFE’s member association, the Ethiopian Netherlands Business Association (ENLBA). A panel composed of distinguished guests that include Mr. Gaim Yibrah (Director of the Strategic Partnership Directorate- Customs Commission), Mrs. Elisabeth Getahun (President of freight Forwarders and Shipping Association) Mr. Getachew Zewdu (Representative of Clearing Agents), Mr. Hayo Hamster (President of ENLBA) as well as Mr. Ben Depraetere (Chair of EUBFE) led the discussion on the application of the new customs legislation 1160/19 and the challenges associated with it. Particular concern was the reduction of maximum allowable deadline of goods in customs warehouses to 15 days in dry ports and 10 at airport and the fine of 20% of customs value sanction who fail to remove their imports within these day limits. Mr. Gaim responded to questions and concerns on behalf of Customs Commission and took away some suggestions for further scrutiny.

 

EUBFE joined members of the diplomatic community in welcoming the new president of EU Commission on her maiden trip outside Europe

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On her first trip outside Europe as head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen visited Addis Ababa, on Saturday December 7 2019. On a speech she made during a reception organized by the EU Delegation to Ethiopia and the AU, Ms. Von Der Leyen underlined the important strategic alliance with Africa her leadership will pursue. She also congratulated the Ethiopian leadership for the reform they are engaged in and in particular the Prime Minister for winning this year's nobel peace prize EUBFE was represented by its co-chair Mr Timklienebenne (pictured with Von der Leyen) and its executive director Mr. Nahom F. Abraham at the evening reception.

The Fourth Thematic Networking Event of EUBFE took place

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EUBFE - LogoThe end of the year and the fourth  thematic networking event of EUBF took place on December 10, 2019 at the Golden Tulip Hotel. The theme of the evening was EUBFE-2020. On behalf of the board members of EUBFE, the executive director Mr. Nahom F. Abraham presented the key strategic directions EUBFE would follow in the year 2020 along three focus areas; expanding membership base, expanding services to members and strengthening engagement with the public sector. Following the presentation, board members conferred one-on-one with members to garner more information and perspectives on strengthening EUBFE's services further. The information gathered at the event will be used to enrich the plans of activities of EUBFE for the year 2020.

EUBFE signed MoU with Ministry of Trade and Industry

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A memorandum of understanding was signed between EUBFE, AmCham Ethiopia and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) on the occasion of thematic networking event held on October 24th 2019. The MoU was signed by Ato Tekay Gebre Yesus, State Minister of MoTI, Mr. Ben Depraetere-Chairman of EUBFE and Mrs. Serena Capelleti-President of AmCham Ethiopia.

The signing of the MoU marks the onset of a constructive and sustained dialogue between MoTI and member companies of the respective associations. In the opening remarks of both Ato Teka and Ben, it was highlighted that it is indeed high time the private sector and the public one to work closely together and feed off each other experiences and expertise. Following the signing ceremony, a presentation on the major mandates, various services and directorates of the MoTI was made by guests from the ministry. Question and answer session followed the presentation, where participants raised queries and concerns.

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