Gov’t Instructs Chambers to Re-Elect Presidents

The government has instructed the Ethiopian Chamber of Sectoral Associations, and Amhara Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations to re-elect presidents, as the first move to solve controversies at both chambers. The decision comes after the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Industry received complaints on the election processes of both associations a month ago. The Ethiopian Chamber of Sectoral Associations is accountable to the Ministry of Industry. But Amhara Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations is answerable to the Ministry of Trade through the Region’s Trade and Industry Bureau. Gebrehiwot G. Egziabher, president of the Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce was elected on September 4, 2016, and Getachew Ayenenew, president of Amhara Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations was elected in the next month.


The election processes of both chambers were against the associations’ rules and regulation, according to a press briefing by the Ministry of Trade last Tuesday.


Two months ago, the Ministry of Trade passed the decision to hold re-elections at the Amhara Chamber after an investigation was made by the Amhara Trade and Industry Bureau. The investigation took place following the five complaints that had been filed regarding the Chamber. Except for the objection on the election, the Bureau rejected the rest of the four complaints.


The Chamber’s regulations forbids any person to run for president for more than two consecutive terms.


“This is unacceptable,” said Getachew, who served the Amhara Chamber as a president for more than two terms. “The Ministry of trade has no right to order re-election.”


However, the Ministry has the mandate to determine whether the criterias are fulfilled or not by Sectoral Associations in order to be represented in Chambers of Commerce & Sectoral Associations, according to Chambers of Commerce and Sectoral Association establishment proclamation.


“If they are not in favour of the decision, the Ministry can even revoke their license,” said a source from the Ministry of Trade.


Amhara Chamber must call for a general assembly meeting in the next two weeks and elect a new president, according to the Ministry of Trade.


The Ethiopian Chamber of Sectoral Association, which held its annual meeting in September, 2016, finds itself in the position of having to hold re-election too. The major reason is due to the untimely election of a president.


Until the regional chambers elects a president, the Ethiopian Chamber of Sectoral Associations is not allowed to conduct any elections of board of directors and presidential elections.


One of the members of the association, the Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce, elected a president seven months ago, just a month after the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce elected its new president.


In addition, Gebrehiwot ran for the presidency for the fourth industry and won the election. This, according to the Ministry of Industry, does not go with the rules and regulation of the Association.


Accordingly, in a letter issued last week, the Ministry of Trade, ordered the Ethiopian Chamber & Sectoral Association to extend its general assembly in the coming three weeks.


The Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Association is composed of eighteen members including, nine regional chambers and two city administration chambers, a national chamber of sectoral associations and six sectoral associations.



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