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Published On  Dec 04,  2011
   
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THE FINE LINE
 

 

In one of his stern warnings to some of the leaders of the opposition parties, the Prime Minister once said that his administration has “eyes and ears.” Taking that at face value, such an administration should have paid notice to the state of paralysis that the private sector finds itself in today, gossip observes. Exhausted from a series of shock therapies in policy prescriptions, many members of the private sector are timid and subdued, if not feeble.

Gossip noticed that many in the private sector are further aggrieved for not knowing where to go to be heard or even if there exists an authority for appeal. Some might have found such a place with the diplomatic corps, if a recent meeting held inside Her Majesty’s embassy is any indication, gossip disclosed.

With the hindsight of history, this should be no surprise for senior diplomats from the three western embassies of France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, which have had enormous influence in shaping domestic policies and politics. Over the years, particularly since the 1950s, those from the United States and those lately regrouped under the European Union (EU) have been seen placing their marks on the nation’s domestic affairs, prior and post electoral debacle of 2005, gossip recalls.

Subsequent to the shambles that non-state actors find themselves in today and, perhaps, alarmed by the deafening silence from any group other than the Revolutionary Democrats, western embassies have lately been seen trying to enhance their activities of creating platforms for others to speak out. The Americans are into this as much as the Brits.

Two weeks ago, close to 30 businesspeople were hosted inside the UK Embassy, by those in charge of Her Majesty’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Ethiopia, gossip disclosed. The purpose was to let these businessmen and women, a good many of them visible, well-known, or up-and-coming in the nascent organised private sector, air their complaints, so that the diplomats could convey them to the powers that be, claims gossip.

Originally, gossip had noticed that many were not at ease, for fear that such conversations could be taped. Nonetheless, some warmed up once the conversation began, including those with a streak of positive bias toward the Revolutionary Democrats. They pointed out access to finance and leased plots as the main constraints in doing business around here, according to gossip.

But, some have argued, such as a businessman who returned from the US, that the main culprit for a private sector in shambles is the very views and world outlooks that policymakers in this administration have towards the private sector. This was a remark that was hard to refute for the ones willing to vouch for the Revolutionary Democrats, claims gossip.

What use could such venting serve in the private sector was another point raised by a businessman returned from Canada, gossip disclosed. If the west is serious about helping the private sector out of its predicament, taking grievances to the authorities on behalf of the private sector is not the way to go, he argued, according to gossip. They would hardly listen because the formal private sector does not employ even five per cent of the workforce in the country, a young businessman returned from the US who runs a consultancy firm told the Brits, according to gossip.

They should rather work to enable segments of the private sector to develop the kind of clout that the leather and flower industries have enjoyed over the past six years, according to the businessman from Canada.

Not terribly bad advice, gossip quipped.

 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 

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