The state is at the very center of the Rent Seeking regime in Ethiopia-Part-III

By Habtamu Alebachew

I happened to visit the small town of Kara Kore in Amhara Region by bad luck of being blocked by collided heavy cars on the way to Addis Ababa. I learned that this small town lagged behind the dramatic advancements of other towns everywhere in Ethiopia. The magnificent cross-country asphalt road jumped Kara Kore leaving the look of the town and its populations as memorials of the old days of Ethiopian towns.

Poverty was still evident and services were either scarce or extremely poor. I asked some youngsters why this happened to be the case in their historically old town. They told me that the influential dwellers of the town mobilized the population in demanding the government for the asphalt road to jump them.

Their reason was roadside clearance of their houses and businesses was much more costly than the advantages they would have obtained from the new asphalted road. The boys told me that the government finally heard their voices and now the town is without this basic infrastructure.

The Ethiopian Television brought a news report about the difficulties that exporters of live cattle to Sudan said they faced from the civil service offices at the border town of Metema, North Gondar.

One exporter complained bitterly that the service he used to get from five offices–Municipality, Health, Trade and Industry, Tax and Customs, before six months was better but went wrong since then.

He explained the reason that these offices used to deliver him services individually on their own schedule but they changed this arrangement where they began giving coordinated services at one place, time and occasion.

The problem now was that when one or two professionals from one or two offices arrived, others did not show up. If it were the old arrangement, we ourselves went and brought them, which we could not do at present

1.The ideal civil servant who makes no mistakes or creates no obstacles + productive hard work + rent free values and practices= rapid development;

2. Those who make mistakes genuinely + productive hard work + rent free values and practices=development;

3. Those who make no mistakes-productive work + no rent seeking value practice= zero development;

4. Those who make no mistakes-productive work (laziness)+ rent seeking values and practices = poverty.

This simple equation symbolizes, in Ethiopia’s context, that being free from rent seeking and corrupt trends is a good start but never enough. Being free from rent seeking behavior is a force of change only when it adds up to itself an equal exercise of self-discipline, strong motivation toward innovative and creative devotions to the cause of changing the statuesque and enhancing the creation of new wealth.