Investors in the Gambella region are complaining about lack of support from their regional government and major financers.
The investors that Capital interviewed claimed that the regional authority has not been providing pivotal support for them. They are hoping to invest in agricultural development and other sectors.
Most of the investors are Diaspora from the Gambella localities. They say that they were invited back by the local government but the situation in the region has become an obstacle for them. They said that even though they secured land for mechanized agricultural investment in the region they have not been supported by the region and were unable to obtain loans from the state owned bank.
The latest study undertaken by the Prime Minister’s Office indicated that the localities which invested in agriculture did not benefit from the loans which came from the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE).
“When we asked for support from the region we faced trouble and sometime security forces in the region interrogated us,” the investors said.
They recalled that during the latest meeting held between agriculture investors and federal and regional government officials in Gambella town about the problems identified by the study under the PM’s Office some of the local investors were left behind the meeting.
“Because we discussed issues with the regional administration they excluded us from the latest meeting held two weeks ago,” they said.
They claimed that they are facing a security problem in their region.
A recent study conducted on land and loan abuse in the region indicated that only two local investors secured loans for their agriculture investment, the investors argued that the study did not magnify the challenges faced by them.
Gatluak Tut, president of Gambella Regional State, told Capital that the loan issue should be responded to by DBE. He declined to respond to other claims from Diaspora investors in Gambella localities because he said he was in a security meeting.
Capital’s effort to talk with Getahun Nana, the recently appointed President of DBE, on his cell phone was unfruitful.
The recent study showed that investment has declined in the region. The stakeholders have blamed one another for the downturn.
On the other hand some of the investors, who said they invested in the region before the loan scheme was introduced, said that the study did go in depth. “If the study was undertaken properly they would have discovered a lot more than was revealed,” they said.
“The government has to undertake more in-depth studies to identify the real picture of the situation,” they said.
Recently some officials and investors in the region have been arrested related to an agricultural investment scandal.