Ethiopia: On Corruption and Rent Seeking

Ethiopia: On Corruption and Rent Seeking

(Aigaforum) Aug 14, 2017

Corruption is perpetuated by those in power. Rent Seeking on the other hand is perpetuated by everyone else in the community. Both are nemesis to development and a country’s political and economic health. Ethiopia like any other developing country is facing both nemesis at the moment. From time to time the government has tried to tame the rampant corruption and rent seeking behavior of its officials and citizens. Lately,the government has unleashed a deep campaign to weed out corrupt officials, contractors and traders. But, why is corruption rampant and why is rent seeking behavior widely spread in Ethiopia?

Although, the government has been trying to stop corruption and rent seeking using the legal tools available, the end result has been dismal so far! It seems more and more officials are becoming prone to be corrupted! All campaigns against corruption and rent seeking by the EPRDF government have ended up with failure. Thus, why the campaign is still going 26 years in to EPRDF government!

Many people we talked from the construction industry told us the reason such campaigns fall short are too many. However, the most spoken reason is the many open loopholes in the law that governs the construction industry. Similar is true with import and export trade industry. Basically, many we spoke told us the government must review its own rules and regulations that are being used as an excuse by its own officials! Then and only then the fight against corruption will succeed.

In the case of the construction industry, the government needs to revisit the laws governing the industry and eliminate the loopholes. Fix the law that allows contractors and government officials to bypass existing laws in order to enrich themselves. Existing laws and policies that apply to big projects must somehow be translated in to small projects without creating a burden to small contractors. A person knowledgeable with the industry told us there is a significant difference between laws that govern big projects and medium to small projects. In most cases it is such difference that is causing officials and contractors to be corrupted! Otherwise said the person we talked, the current campaign will also fail to achieve its intended goal.

We suspect the government must be in pain to be jailing so many people right now! It cannot be pleased to see such rampant corruption today after what it had done in the name of Tehadeso for the past 15 years! Unless there is serious loophole in the law there is no way so many Ethiopians would be involved in such unethical and sinful act.

It is worth to investigate why people break and exploit the law! Throwing people to jail alone will not solve the problem.

In short the best tool the government had to stamp out corruption and rent seeking is to strengthen the laws that govern government contracts and to close loopholes that have become tools for cheating officials and rent seeking contractors.

That is what we think but what about you? Have Your Say.