A draft regulation that proposes the re-establishment of the Ethiopian Quality Award Organisation as an independent body has been finalised. It is set to be sent to the Council of Ministers (CoM) for approval in two weeks time.
It has already been reviewed by the Office of the Federal Attorney General, which recommended additions and exclusions from the March 21, 2018 proposal, according to Tewodros Mebratu, CEO of the Organisation.
The regulation, which has five parts and 35 articles stipulate duties and responsibilities for the proposed bureau and its structure. It was drafted by a committee comprising of five legal experts. Awarding experiences were taken from India, the United States and Japan.
After deliberation on the overall content of the draft regulation, the organisation referred it to its honorary guardian, Mulatu Teshome (PhD) for further scrutiny.
Established almost a decade ago, the Organisation was co-owned by Walta Media & Communication Corporate and the Addis Abeba University (AAU), which have a 51pc and 49pc share, respectively.
“The organization was grappling with financial problems, at the brink of dissolving,” Tewodros told Fortune.
It has nine board members, with Tassew Woldehana (Prof.), current president of AAU, chairing.
The new draft regulation will increase the number of board members to 13. It also proposes for the board to be composed of representatives from government institutions such as the AAU, Walta, the ministries of Science & Technology and Industry, offices of the Prime Minister and the President, and the Ethiopian Standards Agency.
Technical and jury committees will also be part of the Organisation, with a four-year term for the members in office.
Abebe Dinku (Prof), the current board member at the organisation, believes this move was inevitable.
“It has been an organisation that does not have enough funds to own vehicles for transportation or provide training for staff and carry out field observations,” he said. “With proper funding from the federal government and accountability to the Ministry of Science & Technology, it has a good future.”
Some of the well-known companies that have been awarded by the EQAO in the past five years are MIDROC Gold Mine, Teklebirhan Ambaye Construction, Origin Investments Plc and International Clinical Laboratories.
“We have had complaints alleging misconduct in the awarding process from hospitals and schools, but it is the jury, the self-assessment manual and cross-checks by our experts that determine the winners,” explained Tewodros.
The draft regulation will bring the award types to three – for contestants winning in three consecutive competitions, excellence and honourable mention.
The criteria for winning are a commitment to excellence, innovation and leadership among others. The awards have two rounds, which participating companies 15,000 Br and 35,000 Br.
If the draft regulation comes to realise, the Organisation will be the only entity under the government’s wing that carries out quality awards. There are, however, quality and standard assessment organisations such as the Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise, Ethiopian Standards Agency and the Ethiopian National Accreditation Office.
Liku Worku, an independent lawyer and investment consultant with over a decade of experience, sees the issue as a delayed response.
“It, in the first place, should have been established as an independent government body,” he told Fortune. “The issue of quality is an issue of protecting the customer at its very notion, thus that of the government’s job.”
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