September 2, 2017 – Following the issuance of a directive by the Ethiopian government to introduce cost-cutting measures at government agencies, the Office of the Prime Minister early August came up with another directive restricting the use of high-powered vehicles by high-level Ethiopian officials, including ministers.
A letter issued two weeks ago and signed by Alemayehu Tegenu, state minister of cabinet affairs at the PM’s Office, clarifies on the need to bring equitable distribution of vehicles used by Ethiopian government officials.
Affected officials include ministers, state ministers, speakers and their deputies of both houses of parliament, presidents and vice presidents of federal courts, commissioners and deputy commissioners as well as directors.
The directive puts restrictions on Ethiopian officials’ use of high-powered automobiles while traveling within Addis Ababa. Thus, officials are to refrain from using sports utility vehicles (SUVs) such as Nissan Pajeros as well as Toyota Prados and G-9s inside Addis Ababa.
These expensive vehicles will instead be used for travels outside the capital, and will be authorized only for field-work by the officials.
Based on officials’ ranks, eight CC vehicles are reserved for Ethiopian ministers, state ministers, speakers and their deputies, presidents and vice presidents of federal courts, commissioners and deputy commissioners whereas six and four CC vehicles are for directors in different sectors.
Each Ethiopia’s government office is also instructed to coordinate the utilization of vehicles and allocate vehicles appropriately. The directive also includes a provision that will benefit local Ethiopian vehicle assemblers.
Any purchase of vehicles for Ethiopians officials’ use has to be cost-effective, sustainable and centralized. Moreover, it explicitly stipulates that any future automobile purchase has to be exclusively from local Ethiopian assemblers or manufacturers.
When public offices are occasionally in need of more vehicles, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) is mandated to allocate them. Ethiopian public officials are also barred from using cars which are purchased for projects financed by donations or loans.
The directive has also put limitations on the use of gas for automobiles used in the city. Therefore, Ethiopian officials can use only up to 135 liters of benzene per month. The offices have to apply to MoFEC in cases when more gas is needed than allocated. The ministry will then decide based on the merit of each request.
Up until purchase of locally-assembled automobiles is made, offices are allowed to continue with their current use of vehicles at their disposal, reads the directive. The directive had become effective since the first week of August 2017.
In related news, MoFEC has ordered the Public Procurement and Property Service to purchase 178 different vehicles, including ambulances and buses. The purchase will be done via an open international tender.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the ministry ordered federal budgetary institutions to submit their budget reduction action plans by early September 2017, following the issuance of a directive which orders federal agencies to cut all unnecessary expenses.
The directive also listed around 19 different purchase activities under recurrent expenditure that should be taken into consideration by federal offices while using their budget.
Among other things, government offices are allowed to serve only water and coffee while hosting workshops, seminars and different meeting during the budget years. It is also forbidden to purchase t-shirts, bags and cultural dresses which has become a common practice across the board.
By the same token, the offices are not allowed to advertise themselves via mass media and/or sponsor different events. Not only that, government agencies and public universities are not allowed to give a donation to any organization or individual other than university students with disabilities.
These two particular directives came just after the government started to crackdown on corruption, resulting in the arrest of a number of officials and businesspeople in the country. In most of the cases, the accused are either implicated with construction projects or public procurements contracts.