COVID-19 Ethiopia: Government Relief Measures - By Location
(Last Updated: April 16, 2020)
Mastewal T. Terefe (@MastishTT)
As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts societies and economies all around the world governments are introducing programs that offer support to those affected by the emergency.
Similarly, the Ethiopian government has announced a national resource mobilization effort for the purpose of controlling the spread of COVID-19 and responding to its wide-ranging impacts. This effort is being implemented by the National Resource Mobilization Committee, and has since collected millions of Birr in donations from the general public, businesses, and diaspora communities.
You can keep track of the progress on the federal/Addis Ababa fundraising efforts by referring to this dashboard.
Further to this national committee, regional state governments have established their respective resource mobilization committees and are collecting donations from individuals and businesses.
In addition, the federal and state governments in Ethiopia have announced a series of fiscal and relief efforts to provide assistance to individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.
Below is a summary of the key programs.
Federal relief measures
Suspension of mortgage payment and debt collection: The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) announced suspension - for 3 months - of mortgage payments for condominium houses. CBE also announced a suspension of debt collection activity during the same period.
Rent freeze and a moratorium on evictions: The Council of Ministers Regulation for the Implementation of the Emergency Proclamation No. 3/2012 prohibits landlords from increasing the price of rent or evicting tenants. This prohibition applies to both residential and commercial housing facilities.
Ban termination of employment: The above-mentioned regulation also prohibits private enterprises which manage employees under the country's Labor Proclamation Proclamation No.1156/2011, from terminating employees' contract of employment unless consistent with protocols designed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA).
COVID-19 Workplace Response Protocol: Relatedly, on March 27, 2020, MOLSA has unveiled a "COVID-19 Workplace Response Protocol". Among other things, the Protocol prescribes the following "Administrative and legal measures to be taken step by step":
1) Suspend negotiation of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) for the coming 12 months
2) Freezing any salary increment decisions for the coming 12 months
3) Suspend payments of fringe benefits and allowances such as hardship allowance, transport allowance, house allowance, bonuses and commissions until the problem gets fully averted
4) Based on dialogue between employers and trade unions, revise existing salary scales and implement change in order to support survival of enterprises
5) Allow workers to use their unused annual leaves; and for those who have already fully utilized it, arrange for them to take at least half of their annual leave from upcoming budget year
6) Provide temporary loan for workers who occupy non-essential functions in the enterprises, and give letter that assures their return when situation gets better
50% reduction of housing rent: The Federal Housing Corporation announced 50% reduction of housing rent effective from April 1, 2020. The Corporation is said to have over 18,153 houses and shops in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa cities.
Cash payments: The Federal Urban Development Safety Net Project Steering Committee announced the following relief measures:
Beneficiaries of the Urban Productive Safety Net Project (UPSNP) will receive advance 3 months payment while on leave from their public works obligations
Beneficiaries of the UPSNP will be able to withdraw 50% of their savings to cover expenses arising out of the COVID-19 emergency
Low-income citizens who are currently not benefitting from UPSNP will be covered by the Project and will receive 3 months advance payment
Citizens residing in 16 cities identified to be at high risk of COVID-19 exposure and harm and who need assistance will receive 3 months payment
Resources previously allocated to long-term rehabilitation of the homeless will be diverted to finance COVID-19 related initiatives by cities
Expansion of free public transport: government buses to provide free transportation service to the public in order to reduce overcrowding in the public transport system.
ETB 5 Billion for COVID-19 preparedness: federal government availed ETB 5 billion “to undertake COVID-19 preparedness tasks”.
ETB 15 billion for private banks: that private banks will receive Birr 15 billion in liquidity to enable them to provide debt relief and new loans for affected businesses.
Tax exemption and foreign currency for COVID-19 response materials: extension of tax relief as well as priority access to foreign currency for businesses which seek to import materials/equipment for the prevention of COVID-19.
Reduced amount limits on mobile banking transfers on Commercial Bank of Ethiopia accounts
Removal of minimum price requirement for flower exporters
Expedite VAT returns to support companies with cash flows
Strengthen measures to control price increments and supply shortages of consumer goods
State and local relief measures
Harari Peoples Regional State: government employees who are at higher risk of COVID-19 (elderly, pregnant women, those with underlying conditions) to stay home while receiving their salaries.
Tigray Regional State: a moratorium on evictions and reduction of rents by half
Amhara Regional State: started providing flour, oil and sugar to "the poorest of the poor" in city of Bahir Dar
City of Adama (Oromia): started providing bread and water for those who need assistance during the stay at home order
Addis Ababa City Administration: Allocated 600 million ETB for purchasing stockpile of food/other essential goods and distribute same to 800 retail shops.
For up-to-date information on various physical distancing measures implemented by regional states, see this chart.