Gov’t to repossess land from plot hoarders in Addis

The central government is conducting a comprehensive detailed study to identify and take measures on individuals and companies possessing plots of lands which are not being utilized in Addis Ababa, Capital has learnt.
The information that Capital obtained from those close to the case indicated that the government is undertaking a study that is keenly followed by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
According to sources, the government is claiming that plots in the city are not possessed by real investors or developers. In contrary those who take plots through lease or other schemes are holding the land and transferring it to others after years.
It has been stated that there are individuals and business people who take lands in different forms in the Capital, while some owners masquerade with little excavation to show slight progress in construction, which is far away from their true intentions.
Experts in the case have cited that the government is looking deeply into the matter in addition to the measures that the city administration is currently taking. The manner in which the city admin is handling the issue has been seen to not be fully effective thus the central government is diving into the case to provide a lasting solution.
There are also claims that some officers in connection to the land cases are involved in extension of land holdings for years without provision of ample reasons. It is further noted that land has been one of the major sources of misdemeanor in the city.
Based on that, the detailed study will identify the plots of land in the city those are not developed with convincing reasons.
Sources said that the government will take stringent measures to repossess the plots of lands and transfer the same through different schemes including leasing to real investors that have a good reputation.
“There are the so called investors or developers that are engaged on land selling. This must be stopped at some point,” sources said.
On a separate occasion, the government had expressed its keenness to take back idle lands for the city and economic development. Similarly, it has pushed land holders to start development activities.
For instance, recently the Addis Ababa City Administration held discussions with those who did not develop their plots of lands taken through lease, and insisted for provision of valid reasons for slow development on the lands.
At the same time, early this week, prior to the action taken by government, the Land Development Bureau of Bole Sub City held discussions with developers who did not develop their land as per the lease agreement.
Sources underlined that despite efforts by the city administration, the central government is not satisfied by the measure that is taken to push investors to start construction.
“This is the major reason for the central government’s involvement on the case, which the OPM closely follows,” a source added.
One of the intentions of the study is to solve such cases sustainably.
Sources said that in the city there is an individual who possess up to 30,000 square meters of land in different areas under different names and without tangible development.
On his latest appearance in parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed highlighted the land issue as he expressed his frustration.
“Unlike the constitution, in Ethiopia land is controlled by illegal brokers and crooked government officials rather than the government or the public,” the Premier said, adding, “Illegal brokers have taken the land which needs crucial change.”
He cited that because of illegal actors, the government is not able to carry out ongoing development projects in Addis Ababa.
“Neither the government nor the land owners or the public is benefiting from the land. At least in the city, land should be owned by individuals who bring benefit as opposed to illegal government officials and brokers,” he recommended.
He said that even through the government has facilitated fully developed industry zones and parks, investors don’t want to operate there.
“Investors want land in other areas and use it to access bank loans and they may do some foundation and sell it or complain that there are barriers from government or banks,” he elaborated.
The PM added that the case is very wide and complex and urgently requires sustainable solution. He added that an inclusive national dialogue may have a solution to this since it is a constitutional issue.
Regarding the new initiative, the government is expected to take measures in the near future.

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