Mayoral Revelation


Mayor's City Performance Report Positive Despite Shortfalls



The six-month report, Mayor Diriba Kuma's first since taking office, focused on water supply, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSEs), housing and land management. Some of Addis Abeba's residents have certainly suffered as a result of shortfalls in water supply, with many others concerned that their concerted efforts to become homeowners are at risk of being futile. Progress in the development of MSEs has been observed, despite numerous complaints regarding the provision of loans and shades. Land management continues to require a complete overhaul, with progress being gradual, but predominantly positive, reports FASIKA TADESSE, FORTUNE SATFF WRITER Mayor Diriba Kuma presented a 13-page six-month performance report to the Addis Abeba City Council two weeks ago. The report covered major economic and social sectors, with reference to the city’s Strategic Plan Management (SPM). Water supply, housing development, SMEs and land management featured strongly in his report.


Etenesh Abiye, 40, a housewife and mother of three, lives in Tolesa Sefer, near the Army Officers’ Club in Lideta District, in a house with a small courtyard. It has been five months since she last received piped water to her house, she said, on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

The problem of water shortage has been acutely felt not only in kebele 6 of woreda 1, where Etenesh resides, but also in other adjoining kebeles, too. This was confirmed through interviews with dwellers living elsewhere in the District.

When they grew tired of going as far as places like Coca Mazoria (still in Lideta District), Sar Bet (in Nefas Silk Lafto along the Mekanisa Road) and theLideta Church area (in Lideta District along the Chad Street) to fetch water, residents submitted a petition to the Addis Abeba Water & Sewerage Authority (AAWSA), seeking remedies. This was to no avail.

This shortage has occurreddespite several wells being dug in the Akaki and Gulele areas, each with the capacity to raise the current daily water coverage from 350,000 cubic metres to 610,000 cubic metres, according to Diriba’s report – his first performance report since being sworn in on July 9, 2013. The wells, the report – read to the representatives of 23 constituencies of the City Administration on March 4, 2014 – says, have not yet commenced services.

Elsewhere in the city, dwellers are forced to carry jerrycans and trek long distances in search of water. One of these, Fikirte Ayalew, was walking to Sidist Kilo from her house behind the Menilik II Hospital along Russia St on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

“It’s been two full weeks now, since I last got a drop of water from my tap,” she complains.

The place where she lives, located in Arada District, gets water only afterinterval of a week or two. When the water comes, it does so after midnight.

“If you don’t stay awake or manage to get up on time, you’ll be forced to spend the rest of the week without reserve,” Fikirte says.

Behind Menilik II Hospital, where Fikirte lives, Kechene Medhanialem in Gulele District and the Lideta areas are most hard-hit by the shortage in water supply.

Although 19 wells have already been dug with a capacity for 80,000 cubic metres of water in a day, supply has not yet begun, the report states.

“There is gap between demand and supply, because 90pc of the water projects are conducted by third parties, such as contractors,” says Bizuayehu Gosa, Research & Planning Process head at the Authority. “The inefficiency on the part of the contractors is causing lags.”

Although the Authority has cancelled several contracts and refloated tenders, the same contractors take part, since there are few qualified contractors in the industry.

In addition to the high demand in the face of low supply, the escalating needs of the light railway and building construction is worsening the scarcity, according to the Authority.

The seven-month-old City Administration has purchased 50 tanks and 20 heavy trucks, with the capacity to carry 30,000 cubic metres of water, from the Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC) to provide water to those suffering from scarcity.

Micro & Small Enterprises (MSEs) also received a good portion of focus in the report. The Administration said it has created permanent and temporary job opportunities for 90,679 people, against its plan of doing so for 108,636 people, Diriba said.

All is not rosy with the MSEs, however.

Located in a slum area near the St. Kirkos Church in Kirkos District, the workers at the Rehobot Leather Enterprise were making shoes and wallets in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 12, 2014. The spot they were working on was meant only to be a workshop, but they are also using it as a sales outlet.

“We repeatedly asked the District Administration to provide us with a shed to display our products, but we have not received any reply so far,” Addisu Dhaba, member of the Enterprise said.

Three hundred and forty-five shades, with the capacity to accommodate 13,000 MSEs, have been taken away from “people who occupied the shades illegally,”Diriba said in his report.

“The Administration admits that it has to do a lot more in the provision of shades and clusters and creating market links,” says Berhanu Zewdu, Core Process head at the Addis Abeba City Administration’s Micro & Small Enterprises Development Agency (MSEDA).

Failure to get spots on time for constructing marketing outlets has led to lags in the creation of market links for the MSEs, says Berhanu. He, nevertheless, argues that progress has been registered in the provision of training and loans, as well as the creation of job opportunities.

“The Addis Abeba Land Management & Transfer Administration did not provide us with the land to construct shades and clusters,”said Berhanu.

The report states that the market link that was created enabled the MSEs to sell over 906 million Br worth of products. The City Administration has managed to get 334 million Br in loan repayments from the MSEs, despite planning to collect only 299 million.

The city has also gone beyond its plan in offering loans, planning for 547 million Br and actually giving out 554 million Br.

This being the Administration’s appraisal of the situation in general, some, like the Michael & Tewodros House Paiting SC – established in October 2012 by four members, after receiving 20 days of training with 500 Br initial capital – complain of delays in the provision of loans. They say they had been promised a loan of 20,000 Br. They had a contract to paint condos, but they were told that they had to buy a winch before they could begin the work.

“We were doing better last year, but performance has declined now,” Michael Eskiyas, a member of the Company, complained. “The City Administration promised to give us a loan of 20,000 Br, as well as projects to work on, but failed to live up to it.”

The loan criteria and the processing time are long, says Berhanu, admitting that this share company and others have been waiting too long to fulfil the criteria and get the loan.

On the other hand, the Administration of Diriba Kumahad planned to finalise the construction of 95,000 condominium houses and to start the construction of a further 65,000 condominium houses during the first half of the year. The report, however, fails to indicate the Administration’s achievement in figures and is limited to efforts exerted to realise the plan. Input supply, soil testing, land preparation and local development plans (LDPs), among others, have been conducted, according to the report.

Ashenafi Tadesse, 29, is a laboratory technician with a monthly salary of 2,500 Br. He has registered to get a house under the 20/80 housing scheme and pays 400 Br every month.

“Sometimes I am tempted to quit paying the monthly payment because I can hardly manage my expenditure at the same time as paying 900 Br for house rent,” he complains.

From the total 50,000 condominium houses that were planned to be erected under the 20/80 scheme, only 12,000 are in progress. The construction for the remaining condominium houses will be commenced by the end of this month, according to Diriba’s report.

Constraints in the supply of construction inputs, says the report, is to blame for the delay of the construction, although an official from the Addis Abeba Housing Agency, who talked to Fortune on the condition of anonymity, differs from the report. He states that there is no delay in construction.

“The Agency is working on the structural part of the construction and the process is making good progress,” he said.

The Administration expressed the need to stamp out ethical problems it claims have been rampant in land management. The city cabinet has decided to amend the Land Ownership Management Directive and to prepare a directive to fight illegal land ownership.

The preparation of title deeds for land, conducted by dividing the city into 116 woredas, 400 zones and 2,000 villages, has been carried out over the last six months, said the report. Redevelopment and compensation payments have also been conducted.

Assegid Getachew, the secretary general of the Mayor’s Office, says the Administration of Diriba Kuma has performed well.

“We are doing good if measured against our plans, despite lags in some areas,” he said.

Addis Abeba’s draft five-year strategic plan has already been reduced to a shorter plan of only two years, so that it coincides with its national counterpart, the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP). After taking office in July 2013, Diriba’s Administration prepared a new five-year strategic document, the Strategic Project Management (SPM), which will serve as an administrative blueprint.

 



By FASIKA TADESSE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on March 16,2014 [ Vol 14 ,No 724]


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