As we approach the end of 2020, I wish to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year and the very best for 2021. In many ways, the year 2020 has been a memorable year for all the wrong reasons. What started as a promising year, especially for Ethiopia, and the beginning of a new decade turned very quickly into one of the most challenging years that the world has seen in recent history. Countries across regions and the world at large, regardless of size and level of development, were forced to implement partial and total lockdown of their economies with devastating consequences on business, employment and investment flows. No-one predicted the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis that followed. Therefore, no country was prepared for it.
Ethiopia was among the first set of countries that took bold and decisive actions to increase awareness of Covid-19 pandemic among the population and introduce effective measures to control the spread of the virus in the country. Thanks largely to the farsighted and astuteness of the Ethiopian leadership, these measures were implemented swiftly and effectively.
In addition to increasing facilities in the health sector, the Government undertook a series of policy measures to prevent mass unemployment, minimize hardship among low-income households and support the business community, both small and large.During the early days of the pandemic, the Council of Ministers announced several tax-related measures and an employee pension payment scheme covering the first few months of the year. The National Bank of Ethiopia also made over 15bn ETB available to private banks in the form of liquidity injection to enable them to provide debt relief and additional loans to their customers. Moreover, banks were instructed to allocate foreign currency to importers and manufacturers engaged in the production and supply of products used to control Covid-19.
For more read Commissioner Lelise Neme's Message for the new year