The migration of highly skilled and experienced personnel from…

The migration of highly skilled and experienced personnel from the public to the private sector remains pervasive, gossip observed. This has a highly stressful impact on the political and bureaucratic elite in the government, who are unable to find a replacement within a short space of time.

One reason for the high staff turnover in the civil service could be the expanding private sector, which has fragmented the job market. But that largely impacts entry level civil servants with limited experience, according to gossip. Highly qualified employees filling the most critical positions of any government office are poached by international non-governmental organisations and global companies investing in Ethiopia, gossip observed. Yet, none parallel the irresistible offers made by the many agencies of the United Nations.

It is extremely rare for the government to be able to renegotiate terms and win back such experienced personnel. Nonetheless, such is the story of Getachew Adem, a macro-economist with several years of stay at the Ministry of Finance, who is known to have put his fingerprints on many of the nation’s development road maps since the early 1990s, gossip disclosed. From the early years of planning poverty reduction strategy documents to the latest roadmap for growth and transformation, Getachew’s marks have been there for all in the policy circle to see.

Once the head of the development planning and research department at the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED), he was previously under the supervision of Mekonnen Manyazewal, then the rare non-partisan state minister for the MoFED, in charge of development policy and planning. Getachew was not the first to leave such a high profile position behind to join the UN or another international organisation, gossip recalls. He left the Ministry back in 2011 and joined the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as an economic advisor in Sudan.

He is, however, coming back, leaving behind an incredibly well paid job to rejoin a government whose record for compensating its staff leaves much to be desired, claims gossip. Mekonnen, now minister for the National Planning Commission (NPC), appears determined to get back one of his most reputed economists to be part of his hard pressed efforts to author the second generation of the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP), gossip disclosed. Dubbed the GTP-II, the plan is still on the drawing table at Mekonnen and his team’s office, housed inside the headquarters of central planning, under military rule on Dejazmach Hailesellasie Street, in front of Addis Abeba University in Sidist Kilo, gossip disclosed.

With a rank of a State Minister, Getachew has been appointed as a deputy commissioner of the NPC, and a leading expert in designing the GTP-II – the draft of which will no doubt be a policy battleground between the Revolutionary Democrats and their international allies, who provide crucial development assistance to the nation, according to gossip.

While the first generation of the GTP emphasises two scenarios of growth, both have entirely put their faith in a state driven economic expansion, where the public coffers are open for massive infrastructure development, gossip observed. Five years down the road, the results are a mixed bag, but it has ensured macroeconomic growth in the baseline scenario and led to the launch of major public infrastructure projects, such as the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the capital’s light rail transit (LRT) system, the expansion of road networks connecting every kebele across the country and telecoms development. Nonetheless, the GTP has constantly been challenged by members of the nation’s Development Assistance Group (DAG) for its alleged marginalisation of the private sector and deprivation of financial resources to it, according to gossip.

Members of the DAG, including Getachew’s former employer in Sudan, have yet to surrender their demands, claims gossip. To what extent the Mekonnen-Getachew team will succumb to this pressure and make the private sector the focus of the second generation of the GTP is a question that will dominate public policy discourse in the months to come, gossip foresees.


Published on September 21, 2014 [ Vol 15 ,No 751]



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