Page 1 - Print Version volume 21 number 1070
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Volume 21 No. 1070, SUNDAY, November 1, 2020 Content Matters

                                                                                  T e n ( 1 0 ) b i r r o n ly

call off dutyPublic
 to be                                           Estimated

                                                 10,000number of

Scrapped                                                                                                       Budget allocated to

The federal disposal                                                                 12.8b Br the health sector last
office requested 1.3m Br                                                                                       fiscal year

 to hire experts for the                           Percentage of nation's    4pc
          process                                total budget allocated to

                                                          the health sector

   By HAGOS GEBREAMLAK                                                                           Private higher education
Used vehicles from public offices                                                      6 institutes with medical
that are ready for disposal cannot                                                               programmes
be used for transportation or for
personal uses, according to a                                                          1:10,000        Ratio of
new directive in the making. The                                                                       physicians to
directive, which is being prepared                                                                     citizens
by the Ministry of Finance, states
that these vehicles should be sold               Budget allocated to
off by auction as scrap metal.                   the health sector           19.3b Br
Previously, the Public Procurement                 this fiscal year
& Property Disposal Service and                                                                        Public higher education
respective public offices had been                                                       28            institutes with medical
transferring the vehicles to buyers                                                                    programmes
for further use through an auction
system. The new directive, which                                New health        4,000
is in the making following the                   professionals signed on
proposal from the Service, will
enable it to sell non-functional                    to combat COVID-19
and used vehicles as scrap for
recycling.                                                                               3,500+ Estimated number
The decision to dispose of old                                                                               of medical doctors
public vehicles in the form of scrap                                                                         graduated last year
is aligned with the policy by the
government to discourage the use                 When the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought to                       prevalence of non-communicable illnesses such as diabetes.
of second-hand cars, according to                             the fore the urgency of health services to Ethiopia, Prime         The discrepancy is explained through a combination of planning,
Tsewaye Muluneh, director-general                             Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) did not waste time calling for health    administration and budgetary failures, according to those who know the
of the Service.                                               professionals to serve their country. It was a move that is now    sector well. Despite being one of the countries in Africa that have pledged
The government has been                          being rescinded as the government's response to the virus is readjusted         to contribute 15pc annual spending to health services, the government is
formulating laws to discourage                   toward the treatment of cases at home instead of treatment centres.             only currently meeting a third of that. Complicating this factor is a language
the import and sale of used cars.                When the Prime Minister's announcement arrived in March, the nation's           requirement by regional health bureaus that has effectively narrowed down
Recently, the parliament legislated              health professionals did not disappoint. No less than 23,000 health             the choices of fresh graduates. Neither is the matter helped by the fact that
an excise law that imposed higher                professionals responded, going on to be employed in quarantine and health       increasing numbers of doctors are graduating from universities without a
tax rates on second-hand vehicles.               centres. About a sixth of these were hired on a contractual basis, addressing   corresponding rise in budgeting for health services.
With the new excise tax law, used                the paradoxical circumstance of health professional unemployment in a           The administration of Prime Minister Abiy is looking for ways to increase
cars two to four years old are                   country that direly lacks doctors. This was short-lived. The isolation centres  funding and engage the private sector to fill the gap, according to Lia
subjected to a 105pc excise tax. Cars            are closing up as the Ministry of Health has begun to lean on self-care at      Tadesse (MD), minister of Health. But if such options are exhausted, the
                                                 home as an alternative means of treatment.                                      nuclear option is exporting health professionals instead of allowing their
                          (Continued on PAGE 4)  It has left the country with a unique set of circumstances. On the one side     training to go to waste. Health experts that know the sector believe that this
                                                 is a lack of employment opportunities for doctors. On the other is one of       should be a matter of last resort and that realigning the outputs between
                                                 the lowest ratios of health professionals in the world. The outcome is that     the health and education sectors with spending in these areas is an urgent
                                                 Ethiopia has a high incidence of infectious diseases as well as a rising        matter. please see the full agenda on page 2.

                    Long-Serving Privatisation Head Departs
                    Beyene Gebremeskel, the veteran public service technocrat, has resigned from his post as director-general of Public Enterprises Holding & Administration
                    Agency. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has appointed Habtamu Hailemichael, Beyene's deputy, to replace him. The Prime Minister accepted his
                    resignation request on October 19, 2020, and appointed the new director-general four days later. The outgoing Director, who has been working in the
                    privatisation arena for over two and a half decades, is expected to be assigned as a diplomat, according to sources close to the case. Beyene, who
                    mentioned personal reasons for his departure, took his latest post two years ago following the last restructuring of the office from a Ministry of Public
                    Enterprises to an Agency. The restructuring, which was initiated after Abiy came to power, has also seen the Agency report to the Ministry of Finance.
                    please see the full story on page 5.

Deposit (2018/19)	  	 Dashen (44.7b Br)          BoA (32.15b Br)                       NIB (27.6b Br)            Hibret (29.1b Br)  Awash (62.5b Br)  LIB (16.4b Br)  BIB (10.6b Br)

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