June 16, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The Ethiopian parliament is discussing a new bill meant to allow foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin to engage in the banking and financial services sector, according to the Ethiopian Reporter.
The new bill will amend the existing, restrictive banking and financial services proclamation, according to the report.
The bill has been tabled before the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) for approval.
The existing law bars Ethiopian-born Diasporas with foreign passports from opening banks, subsidiaries, or acquire shares in Ethiopian banks.
Last year, foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin were forced to sell their shares in Ethiopian financial insitutions at rates many considered unfair.
Many Ethiopians from the diaspora had purchased bank shares not knowing the restrictions.
According to the revised law, Ethiopian diaspora can purchase shares of banks in Ethiopia and they will be pay (or earn dividends) in birr like any other Ethiopian citizen.
However, according to the Reporter, "if foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin hold shares directly in banks or indirectly by holding a share in another organization that holds a share in a bank, the foreign national of Ethiopian origin or the organization in which he is a shareholder, shall pay the values of the share only in acceptable foreign currency."
Deputy Whip, Mesfin Chernet, explained the new changes and its implications to the country’s ongoing reform as well as transfer of knowledge in the financial services sector.
According to the draft bill, the revised law will help Ethiopia in its effort to join the World Trade Organizations (WTO).