Over 20 investors have shown interest in acquiring eight sugar factories after officials floated a bid to fully privatize the state-owned businesses. Ethiopian Investment holdings with the Ministry of Finance floated an international bid last August to privatize the four sets of Omo Kurazs, Arjo Dedessa, Kessem, Tana Beles, and Tendaho sugar factories. According to officials, the initiative is one of the efforts to transition the factories into a competitive market structure and strengthen private sector growth. The interested bidders are yet to be disclosed, according to officials at the Ministry. Omo Kuraz II and III, built by a state-owned Chinese firm, China National Complete Plant Import Export Corporation (COMPLANT), have begun production. Erected at the cost of 290 million dollars, the Omo-Kuraz III plant in the Southwestern Regional State, 900km from the capital has a daily production capacity of 10,000qtl of sugar. Omo Kuraz V has been on hold as the primary creditor stalled loan disbursements to the contractor, Jianglian International Engineering Co. (JJIEC). The factory is part of a set of four sugar estates under development designed to process 24,000qtls of sugar cane per day in the Omo Basin. Ethiopia has had a contentious history with sugar production ever since Emperor Haile Selassie incentivised a Dutch company, HVA International, to construct Wenji and Metahara sugar factories nearly 70 years ago. The country has never become self-sufficient in sugar production despite attempts by three successive regimes. Efforts to fix the broken supply chain of sugar have been several, including the ongoing effort to privatise.
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