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updated 6:54 AM SAST, Mar 14, 2031
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Ethiopia ousts State firm from Nile dam project after construction delays

Ethiopia has ousted State-run Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) from a $4-billion dam project on the River Niledue to numerous delays in completing the project.

The Grand Renaissance Dam is the centrepiece of Ethiopia's bid to become Africa's biggest power exporter. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said at the weekend that the government had cancelled the contract of METEC, which is run by Ethiopia's military, and would award it to another company.

Italian firm Salini Impregilo remains the main contractorbuilding the dam, while METEC was the contractor for the electromechanical and hydraulic steel structure divisions of the project. The government has touted the 6 000 MW dam project, which is 60% finished, as a symbol of its economic reforms.

"It is a project that was supposed to be completed within five years, but seven or eight years later not a single turbine is operational," Abiy said during a news conference in Addis Ababa on Saturday. "Salini has even demanded compensation because of the delays. We decided to cancel a contract with METEC and offer companies with experience. Otherwise, it will take even longer," he said. 

Abiy has presided over a series of reforms since coming to power in April, releasing political prisoners, relaxing state control of the economy and dramatically improving relations with Ethiopia's neighbour Eritrea.

An official at METEC, who did not wish to be named, said the company first heard of the cancellation on Saturday.

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