Tigray Region Accuses Federal Government of Freezing World Bank’s Safetynet Budget

By Staff Reporter

Tigray-Federal-disputeOctober 24, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopia’s Tigray region accused the federal government of freezing the quarterly budget of 285 million birr that the World Bank has provided for the implementation of safety net programs in the regional state.

The regional government in a statement said as many as 1.5 million Tigryans largely farmers are at risk of hunger as the federal government is not transferring the bank’s fund to the region’s Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.

Ethiopia’s Safety Net Program reaches an estimated nine million people across the regions of Amhara, Oromiya, SNNP, Tigray, Afar, Somali, Dire Dawa, and Harar. Food or cash payments are provided to very poor households.

Payments are made in return for community work known as ‘public works’ – with beneficiaries working on soil and water conservation, construction of schools, health posts, childcare centers and road building.

Tigray’s Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau communication head Michael Abrits said the region’s safety net program has been suspended after the federal government is not sending the money in politically motivated decision making.

He said the the federal government neither has the authority nor legal ground to freeze the fund and the region will be taking measures against it.

Communication Director of the Ministry of Agriculture Abera Lemma said there is no legal ground the federal government can suspend the fund it was supposed to transfer to the Tigray region.

“The people of Tigray will never surrender despite continued conspiracy against them by a unitary government in Addis Ababa,” the regional government said in a statement.

The federal government has suspended budget subsidies to the Tigray region after the later held elections in defiance of the decision passed by the Upper House.

The vice-president of Tigray region Abraham Tekeste warned that the decision by the House of Federation to cut budget subsidies to the regional government was a “dangerous” move that could escalate tensions in the country.

“The regime is driving the Tigray region away from the federation and this is totally unacceptable,” he added.

In another development, US president Donald Trump’s suggestion calling for Egyptian military action against Ethiopian Dam sparked anger among Ethiopians.

In a phone conversation with the Prime Minister of Sudan Abdulla Hamdok, President Donald Trump suggested that Egypt may blow up the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Trump remarked about GERD when he was announcing the normalization of the United States’ relation with Sudan following decades of sanctions.

“It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way,” he said as reported by the AFP.  For him, the Dam stops the flow of water to Egypt.

And he suggested: “They’ll end up blowing up the dam. And I said it and I say it loud and clear — they will blow up that dam. And they have to do something”

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