Cooperative Bank of Oromia (COOP) aspires to erect a 65-storey building in the financial district, signing the design and supervision work agreement with the Engineering Consultants Group (ECG) last month.

If realised, it will be the tallest building in the city, outgrowing the 46-storey headquarters of the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).

Oromia Coop which holds the fourth place among private commercial banks based on last year's performance has yet to erect a landmark in the financial district of the capital sprawled over 2hct of land that rests around Taitu Street, commonly referred to as the Filwuha area.

According to Bank President Derbie Asfaw, predicting the construction cost is difficult due to the inflation of construction materials. However, the building is expected to be completed in the next five years. The consulting firm operates in the Middle East, Africa and Europe on projects with over 50 years of experience in the field of engineering consultancy.

"We're also considering borrowing from external sources," said the Bank President.

The 16-storey building around the Bole Rwanda area is serving as the current headquarters for Oromia Coop with a workforce that has expanded by 26.5pc from the previous year reaching 6,547.

"We've been renting offices," said Derbie.

The Addis Abeba City Administration designated the Senga Tera area for commercial banks with the prospect of adding one more skyscraper to the headquarters of Nib, Zemen, Hibret and CBE banks.

The 2019 proclamation on land expropriation for public use grants the city and district powers to evacuate and take over land deemed for public use, relaying that the amount of compensation for the property on the land covers the cost of replacing the property.

Lideta District Land Management Bureau is handling the resettlement of the 34 private residential households and 171 Kebele homeowners who have fallen prey to the redevelopment plan as the city administration set its eyes on the neighbourhood in front of Zewditu Hospital up to the Ambassador area which was known to be the hub for butcheries and souvenir shops.

According to the Bank President, over 55 million Br is set aside for compensation of displaced residents where the Bank settled 65 million Br advance lease payments of the total 468 million Br expected to be paid annually.

Residents are met with two alternatives; getting a substitute Kebele home in Lideta, Kirkos and Kazanchies areas or drawing a lottery for condominium units around Tafo and Garment sites on the two ends of the city.

According to Nebiyu Wolde, leader of the resettlement project in the Lideta district, 150 households have chosen to draw the lottery. He said that with the current estimation of the construction materials, the least compensation a residential homeowner received is one million Birr, while the ceiling is not defined.

"The settlement is not completed yet," said Nebiyu.

The eviction notice was given to the residents a year ago while the business centres began to be demolished a month ago.

Although the area holds plenty of memories for the 31-year-old Elsabeth Getachew, who was born and raised there, relocating to another area did not come as complete dismay with the compensation promised by the Wereda administrators. She is one of nine committee members selected among Kebele homeowners.

According to Elsabeth, the residents have received a payment package that included the transportation cost, the compensation for discontinued community interaction and four months of rental fees, reaching the sum of 90,400 Br.

However, the residents requested more after learning that the 25,000 Br compensation for discontinued interaction goes as high as 65,000 Br when residents have lived there for more than five years.

"We're getting documents from the vital registration agency," said Elsabeth.

With the idea initiated by Haile Gebre Lube for cooperatives to form a bank, Oromia Coop was incorporated in 2005 with 112 million Br paid-up capital and 700 cooperatives who still hold most shares. The Bank enjoyed significant growth in the financial metrics last year, netting 2.05 billion Br, a 54.1pc growth compared to the previous fiscal year.

It has planned to build another 40-storey building a decade ago near the twin headquarters of Awash Bank and Insurance. It is one of the 54 developers granted a lease by the municipal authorities last year following the proposal review by the cabinet.

According to the lease proclamation, the land is provided either through allotment or bid by the city administration for residential and commercial purposes.

Abraham HaileMeskel, a legal expert who worked at Gulele District, said the proposal evaluations should be strict as it may open doors for unseemly utilization of the limited resource.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 22,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1199]

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