The Federal Supreme Court (FSC) has been introducing various modern technologies across the Federal and the State courts for many years . For example, the four- year- long multi-functional call center and a decade old e-filing are among the high tech technologies of FSC.
Thanks to the e-filing ,the task has been made easy and simple. It has also reduced the transportation cost, energy and time of the applicants to open file coming to Addis Ababa. Moreover, applicants can now follow up their case being within reasonable proximity from their families and workplaces. More importantly, there would not be a single chance of misplacing of files.
In fact, the multi-functional call center would enable litigants to easily access timely information regarding their cases and the services of the court as well.
Apart from giving immediate response to inquiries made by fellow citizens through toll-free call relating any sorts of legal procedures and activities of the court, the call center provides good enough information about juvenile offenders.
Since some years back, FSC has begun to conduct court proceedings via video conference system as a result the accessibility of the court has increased. For instance, the proceedings of over tens of thousands of lawsuits were conducted via video conference over the last decade.
Besides, the latest court recording and transcription system said to have saved time of judges, reduced dependency upon stenographic ,expedited the whole process of judgment writing ,among others.
Therefore, the aforementioned advantages of the introduced technologies have been playing enormous roles in ensuring transparency in the judicial system apart from showing tremendous increase lawsuits which get final decision compared to that of last few years .
According to the latest available information and report of federal courts and judicial administration, the lingering shortage of federal court rooms, failure to give housing and transportation services to federal judges and the existing high turnover of professionals have been creating obstacles in the overall activities of the federal courts.
The shortage of federal court rooms has forced judges to work on shift and exposed litigants to unnecessary transport expenditures and waste of time as well. On the top of this, it has created pendency of cases. Hence, the pertinent body should begin the construction of many more court rooms to ease the setbacks in this regard as soon as possible.
The need for housing and transportation facilities to federal judges has been one of the burning issues in the judiciary organ for many years. That is why , in 2011 ,the government decided to construct a housing complex for federal judges and nominated a standing committee that consists members of Parliament who looks after the successful completion of the building.
Regarding to the existing high turnover of professionals, the court and the pertinent body should find out the underline causes that make workers to leave their jobs in order to give everlasting solution for such serious hindrance.
Indeed, FSC has been disseminating information about its major undertakings using various media outlets but, it needs to be further strengthen in order to convey timely and educational messages for the general public using intensively latest technologies than before.
The court need to be acclaimed in its efforts to have a number of world class juvenile courts across the nation as many of these courts have been equipped with latest CCTV cameras and sound recording machines.
In general, making use of latest technologies aiming at ensuring transparent judicial system and providing best services to litigants should further be strengthened. In addition, the aforementioned challenges should be overcome applying various problem solving mechanisms and strategies.
Until the construction of the GERD six years ago, upper riparian countries of the Nile were under pressure to refrain from utilizing the Nile in any way that might infringe on the volume of water. Despite their contribution of water to the Nile, they were strictly hesitant to assert their water rights conscious of the long hand of Egypt. Efforts to pursue water rights over the Nile were routinely met with the denial of loans and cooperation from companies in the developed world.
The Egyptians claim that they have historic rights over the waters of the Nile. This just means that the millennia of utilizing the Nile provide Egypt with enough reason to keep on using it alone despite the fact that it does not contribute a drop to its water. Egyptian politicians still advocate the historic rights argument.
Ethiopia, on the other hand, contributes about 85% of the Nile waters, but does not use the water at all. Any efforts by Ethiopia to utilize its biggest river had been taken by Egypt as a threat to its existence. Considering the Nile supports the water demands of over 90% of Egyptians, it is not secret that their livelihood depends heavily on the river. The Egyptians then argue that Ethiopia has other rivers to utilize and should leave Abay or Blue Nile to them.
However, the Abay basin (as the Blue Nile is called in Ethiopia) makes up 70% of the surface water in Ethiopia. Abay or Blue Nile and its tributaries are, therefore, a huge part of Ethiopia’s water supply. Not utilizing them when we have the capacity would mean a waste of this tremendous resource. Besides, the river basins that make up the remaining 30% do not carry as much water. Therefore, utilizing the Nile is not a matter of preference for Ethiopia either.
It is with these facts in consideration that Ethiopia sets out to construct the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) over the Blue Nile. Although the move broke the trend and went against the wish of the Egyptians, it was about time that Ethiopia revamped its efforts to utilize its resources better to sustain its rapid economic growth. After all, the lives of millions of Ethiopians would be affected positively by the construction of the GERD.
As expected, the move did not go down well with the Egyptians. Numerous experts started to anticipate an impending war between Egypt and Ethiopia. Despite the hype, Ethiopia expressed its stand that power generation is the goal of the project and that it would not reduce the volume of water from the Blue Nile. However, one thing was undeniably clear for all parties – it is the most assertive act of an upper riparian country of the Nile.
The silently kept issue of equitable utilization of the waters of the Nile was always going to burst some time and the announcement of the construction of the GERD pushed the bubble to its extremes. Since then, upper riparian countries have become more vocal and demanding regarding their utilization of the waters of the Nile.
In the face of this rational move to utilize one’s own water resources, Egypt’s claim of historic rights to use the water alone shrunk smaller. On the other hand, the upper riparian countries deliberated on their common agenda and surged the level of their cooperation on the issue. As a result, the equitable utilization of the waters of the Nile has become an openly discussed matter between upper and lower riparian countries.
Over six years into the announcement of the construction of the GERD, even the officials of lower riparian countries can openly admit the benefits of the GERD. It is not the first time that the Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir expressed his country’s belief that the construction of the GERD would benefit not only Ethiopia but the countries in the region as well. He made this comment a couple of weeks ago while he received Ethiopian Foreign Minister Workeneh Gebeyehu.
The comments by the Sudanese President are indicative of the long distance both upper and lower riparian countries of the Nile have marched in their understanding of the equitable utilization of the resources and admission of the water rights of upper riparian countries over the past six to seven years.
We remember the alleged collusion between the Sudan and Egypt to foil Ethiopia’s efforts of constructing the dam just a few years back. The Wikileaks report that the Sudan provided runways for Egypt to mount an air attack on the dam comes as an acute contrast to the President’s recent speech. The tremendous change of attitude expressed repeatedly by the Sudanese President marks the strength of the argument put forth by upper riparian countries such as Ethiopia.
Another notable instance is the financial contribution of IGAD to the construction of the GERD. News reports state that the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) donated 50,000 USD of the pledged 250,000 in a gesture of support for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. IGAD announced that it contributed USD 100,000 over five years ago under the initiative of the Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim.
The news report goes on to state that after handing over the cheque to Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Djibouti Shamebo Fitamo, Executive Secretary of IGAD, Mahboub Maalim said the organization will keep on delivering the pledge amount of money shortly. He added that this humble contribution is a testimony of the importance of the GERD project to the region and to the integration agenda spearheaded by the regional organization.
IGAD’s contribution five years ago was not publicized as the issue could have created a lot of fuss at the time. The level of assertiveness of water rights and the claim to equitable shares were not that mature. Lower riparian countries would have overreacted to such moves at the time and depicted it as a declaration of war against them. However, times have changed and the benefits of the GERD to lower riparian countries have become more publicized. Therefore, the IGAD has openly announced its donation to the construction of the dam.
The announcement of the construction of the GERD sets off the present change of attitude over the equitable utilization of the waters of the Nile. Ethiopia exerted considerable diplomatic effort to spearhead this change and champion the cause of upper riparian countries. The times ahead seem like it might just reap the benefits of its bravado.
BY DAGEM BELAYNEH
Ethiopia is currently taking the leading position in the list of countries that are attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Among the factors contributing to its success in attracting FDI are its natural resource, strategic location, political stability and most importantly its vast and cheap labor force.
Specifically Ethiopia’s work force is known to be a vital input for migrant industries like textile and garment. Despite the promising trend in the utilization of this resource, the issue of benefits and safety seems to be lacking due attention.
According to Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) many employees suffer violation of rights such as the restriction of right to organization, the absence of minimum wage floor, the problem of equal payment for equal work and work place safety, among others.
Among these problems, the restriction of the right to organization and the absence of minimum wage floor can be taken as the major and basic ones because they can contribute highly for the fulfillment of other rights.
Especially the restriction of right to form trade unions hinders workers from raising questions related to other rights. Employers in private entities perceive trade unions as potential threats as they would enable their employees to file their cases collectively and consistently.
However, in his exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald, CETU Communication Bureau Director Measho Berihu said, “On the first place while the right to organization is constitutionally guaranteed in Ethiopia, the declaration of workers and employers divides this right and allow only private and public enterprise workers to get organized.”
As of him whereas this is against the constitution on the one hand, on the other hand for allowed private sector workers also there is a challenge from employers in letting workers to be organized. He said that especially in industrial parks and factories which now aggressively emerging, employers use different tactics to prevent them. These tactics includes using different inducements to disunite workers, delaying the process, using intimidation and up to suspending the organizing committees and leaders.
According to Measho, this is not because the organization of workers is threat for employers but it is because of lack of awareness. “They perceive it as against their interest and they assume if workers organized they question only their rights.
“However, this is completely miss perception,” Measho stressed. He noted that when workers get organized even though it is true that they will stand for their rights, one should know that first they will check also their obligation since that was part of their contract. There will be collective bargain.
Beyond this he mentioned some of benefits for employers if workers get organized. First, it will simplify the communication and create dialogue between workers and managers. It is also better for employers to talk with the representatives of workers than talking with the entire employees at a time.
While minimizing the administrative burden organizing workers on the other hand will increase productivity. This is what is commonly observed in the experiences of organized workers companies.
The other challenge is the reluctance of concerned government offices that have obligation to ensure workers right to organization. Beyond this Measho noted that the right to organization for Ethiopian is constitutionally guaranteed right and also part of ILO conventions 98 and 97 ratified by the country.
Moreover, Measho underscored that unless we create conducive environment for workers in industry zones, it is impossible to think of a stable industrialized economy in the future. Workers feel loyalty and belongingness to the job and demonstrate their heartfelt commitment when they are allowed to organize.
According to CETU, another major challenge workers are facing is the absence of national minimum wage floor. This particularly affects all workers in the country whether they are organized or not. Measho illustrated that currently workers, especially industrial employees have no choice without accepting and working with the owners or employers will. They will pay as they want. “They may refer other employers payment level and they will decide by themselves,” he emphasized.
As of him right now, the average monthly salary of factory workers is about 700 Birr. Since many employees hail from far areas they have to pay house rents. But their salary cannot cover even their food expense; as a result, they have to rent houses in groups so as to share the expenditures for survival.
In a country that is dreaming to become middle-income economy in near future, the issue of ensuring fair and equitable distribution of resources for all citizens needs to be a top agenda. Especially the private sector workers need more concern in this regard. Foreign investors should also respect the globally applied rules and be part of the solution than the problem.
Measho also strongly called up on concerned government bodies, to give proper attention to this serious problem and strive to timely finalize and enact the proclamation that is currently under study.
BY YOSEF KETEMA
Until recently, local health instit utionsdo notprovide service on specific advanced toxicology treatment. Since a year ago, however St. Peter’s Specialized Hospital launched the treatment in dialysis, vaccination and guidance. Currently it is working with stakeholders to implement advanced toxicology treatment, Hospital CEO YakobSemane told.
The hospitalalso opened Toxicology Research Center which is theonly toxicology management institution in the horn of Africa. Therefore, it would serve as a training center for poison treatment health professionals in the region.According to Yakob, the hospital is working with Ethiotelecom to establish Poison Information Center for phone medication or provide a first aid advice forpoisoned-patientson their way to health institution.
The hospital has also plan to offer poison management orientation for employees of chemical factorieswhere the bulk of chemical poisoning comes from. This would help to protect the problem from the beginning. On the other hand the guidance and counseling activity would help to prevent poisoning and to reduce its impact on health through sensitizing patients and families how to handle it.
The effort is to become the continental mentionable toxicology treatment health institution. Therefore the hospital is working in collaboration with Public Health England Chemicals and Poison Management Department to design and implement advanced action plan about the overall toxicology services of the center, said the CEO.
However, although the hospital is striving to advance its services through modernizing its treatment and installing latest technologies, it still has setbacks related to shortage of antidotes that help to cure poisoned patients. According to Yakob, the hospital has been treating patients suffering from food poison, pesticides, factory chemicals and animal attack among others. However, it faces lack of antidotes for those infected by various chemicals including aluminum, lead and strong metals.
Responding to Yakob’s claim, Ethiopian Pharmaceuticals Fund and Supply Agency Director General Dr. Loko Abraham said that the shortage of antidote supply is caused by expensiveness of the drugs. People could be poisoned with various causes. “Antidotes for people poisoned by karbamate, organophosphate and bleaches are currently supplied by the agency through selective proceedings up on the capacity and need of the country.”
The major shortageemanates from the strangeness of advanced toxicology treatment in the country. And it was only given as additional treatment in various hospitals but now the hospital is giving the treatment in an advanced manner. Therefore, the hospital ought to have a close contact with the agency and present its need to the agency.
In the other way, the country has been importing medicines that were used and wasted improperly. That’s why the agency took action to import and supply specific types and amount of medicines for proper implementation of the country’s resource. It is important to work closelywith the hospital giving the service to provide the needed amount of medical facility.
Activated charcoal medicine is basically given to the health institutions. In the future, we need to expand the service across the country. Currently, the agency is improving its contact with hospitals and is striving to scale it up to a better level. It has also prepared a guideline to measure the availability, validity and list of medicines that would ease communication between health institutions and the agency.
Today, there are more than 15,000 types of drugs across the world. However, it is challenging to import all medicines compared to the capacity and the need of the country. Therefore, the agency is working to import and supply medicines that have a wide demand and necessity. The agency also planned to import only 1,373 types of medicines. The supply also considered to reduce ebb and flow of pharmaceuticals supply and reach life saving medicine availability 95 percent nationwide.
The agency also identified 98 types of vital medicine types and other pharmaceuticals to be imported among other medical facilities. Here comes the antidote as of lifesaving medicine. Even though, they are expensive the agency is yet importing them considering their vitality to save the lives of many people that could be easily vulnerable to poisoning.
According to the Director General, the agency has established a directorate entitled to solve shortage of medicine through conducting research and recommending possible measures. Efforts are also underway to curb the artificial shortage induced by the hoarding of some health institutions who intend to profiteer later. The agency has also signed an agreement with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society for proper distribution of medical facility.
To this end a new communication system has become operational to strengthen the communication between the agency, health institutions and users. This could be realized through modern commodities management information system which helps the end user to get updated information via cell phone.
The shortage of lifesaving medicine is a very critical problem besetting the efforts to improve health service delivery across the country. Especially, it is embarrassing for the sector to fail locally treatable diseases only due to shortage of supplies. Therefore, the agency together with hospitals and other partners needs to improve the service delivery to redeem people from suffering due to poisoning.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH
According to World Bank Group (WBG), the private sector is expected to play a key role in Ethiopia’s journey to become a middle income country by 2025.
As nation striding to actualize middle income society, sound activities have been undertaken in preparing the private sector development strategy to improve the productivity and modernization of the agricultural sector. And the SMEs should be granted with lease financing and other schemes which could transform nation’s vision.
All the way the strategy has identified the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as a key industrial policy direction for creating employment.
To secure the aforementioned goal, Addis Ababa City Administr ation Small and Middle Manu facturing Industry Cluster Develop ment Cooperation put in place working approaches that could address the growing demand for manufacturing site for SMEs.
The Cooperation CEO Yabibal Addis told The Ethiopian Herald that during the first Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-I), providing plot of land for SMEs was taken as one of the incentives to support the sector. “But, as of GTP II, the Corporation has decided to construct industrial parks and handover them to SMEs.
The effort could help addressing the scarcity of land for SMEs and meeting the growing industry demand,” he noted.
According to him, preparations to construct industrial park at Akaki Subcity on 93.9 hectare of land have been finalized.
He call on respective SMEs must be able to respond quickly and efficiently to both domestic and international market opportunities to take advantage of trade and investment opportunities and reap the benefits. “This means they need to be competitive and productive. Effective business support systems are needed to enhance competiti veness and productivity of SMEs. Development of an effective business support system is also a key condition for the success of both trade and investment capacity building,” he said.
It requires business support agencies (including financial instit utions), which are customer-oriented and which have a demonstrated capability of penetrating the SME sector demand across the board.
The effort is believed to avail the sector in a city where land access is serious. Moreover, the corporation will also facilitate how these SMEs could access finance for start up.
Development Bank of Ethiopia and other financial institutions are providing capital goods in order to improve the quality of production as well as move forward the nation’s efforts.
A resident of Addis Ababa who is running Abay Textile and Clothing PLC Habtamu Alebachew owned a shade facility that is found around Diaspora Square Meganagna.
“We appreciate the move of the public efforts to offer the facility. It would solve several problems we are struggling with. Moreover, the lease finance offered to SMEs let them own machineries that assist production with quality and quantity. Finance is a good indicator of the health of the company overall, in my view lease financing is very important. Accessing to business finance plays very important role for any business startup and growth,” he said.
The cooperation is planning to offer selling facilities to the SMEs in the near future. Ethiopia Construction Design and Supervision Corporation CEO Dr. Engineer Negede Abate for his part said each facility in the cluster will be designed as part of easing the burden of manufacturing and other services.
According him, the construction is first of its kind to be designed by domestic firm and it could lead to actualize nation’s goals to transform the agriculture- led economy to industry one. It was learnt that being inhabited in around 125 buildings of the cooperation, about 3,113 SMEs are engaged in manufacturing businesses.
As Ethiopia is not making significant progress in pulling labor out of agriculture into more productive and industrial jobs with three-quarters of all workers still employed in agriculture, efforts in supporting the sector is game changer to meet the set goal.
For a country graduating through the early stages of economic development, growth in the industrial sector is essential for sustained long-term growth and poverty reduction. The structural economic transfor mation that involves the reallocation of workers from the poorly productive agriculture to more productive economic activities in manufacturing is an important step towards the creation of better-paying jobs.
BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopian National Archives and Library Agency announced that Ethiopia will host international written heritages symposium and exhibition that slated for October 10-15, 2018.
Hosting such international symposium and exhibition on heritages is believed to pave way towards sustainable conservation of Ethiopia’s written and other types of heritages scattered worldwide.
Agency Director General Abraham Chosha told The Ethiopian Herald that his organization is undertaking preparations to host the event in an organized and successful manner.
The exhibition will play significant roles in introducing Ethiopia’s vast heritages to the world , building national image and facilitating its ancient written heritages conservation and restitution , he added.
Nine types of ancient written heritages including parchments, manuscripts, historical books, stone and caves writings [digital form] and religious books, among others, will be open to visitors, according to him.
He further said in connection with the event, over 100 books and printed documents are expected to be collected across the country.
The symposium and exhibition are going to be held at Addis Ababa Exhibition Center and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) respectively.
A national committee drawn from religious leaders, university experts and pertinent stakeholders has already been established to facilitate the event , he said.
He also noted that the digitized form of movable and immovable written heritages are made available to researchers and everyone can easily access ancient Ethiopian written heritages under the auspices of the agency .
Accordingly, the exhibition will be held themed :“Written heritages in the Land of Origins”. It is also expected to attract international participants including ambassadors based in Addis, staff and members of British Museum and Library Association,students and lecturers of Southampton university and other countries.
Meanwhile, the agency announced that it is high time to work hand in hand with stakeholders through strengthening efforts towards Ethiopian’s ancient heritage restitution process.
The country has lost most of its written heritages in different times with illegal brokers and individuals, he indicated.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
ADDIS ABABA- Amhara Revenues Authority called on pertinent stake holders to strengthen tax collection efforts of both normal revenue and municipal ones.
The State Revenues Authority Tax Education and Communication Deputy Director Mengesha Fantaw told The Ethiopian Herald that during this fiscal year, the authority had so far collected over seven billion Birr .
According to him, this year's nine - month performance report of the authority shows some progress than the previous one as it generated additional revenues of 1.4 billion Birr . “ Such increment has been registered due to all stakeholders' unwavering efforts in collecting taxes on time .
He further noted that : “ We tried our level best to create common understanding about taxation among businesspersons. And through letting all business community who are eligible to use cash register machine and strengthening inspection and supervision efforts in all parts of the State, the leadership along with coworkers in the rank files has planned to meet the set goal that was 10.5 billion Birr. ”
As to him ,rapid and sustainable development requires sustained and dependable domestic revenue mobiliza tion.
It was learnt that the authority has been engaging in creating informed public and private about the new tax reform of nation. Notifying the business community before the due date of taxation, strengthening tax education through working channels that suite to the community are some of the set activities the Authority planned to execute, as well as introducing the business community with modern technologies as well installing the facilities with modern ICT inputs are among others.
BY MENGISTEAB TESHOME
ADDIS ABABA – University of Gondar disclosed that it has made an agreement with Sudanese Gadarif College for Science and Technology (GCST) to improve the intercultural relations of peoples of the two sisterly countries.
“The two universities have reached on mutual consensus to strengthen their collaboration with a Memorandum of Understanding and an Action Plan to offer Amharic language courses in GCST while Arabic in our university ,"Gondar University Public and International Relations Head Samuel Malede told The Ethiopian Herald.
Signing the agreement, GCST Dean Dr. Abu-Bakr noted that the accord would enable the universities to provide skilled and bilingual citizens who could understand and decently communicate with the people of both countries, according to Samuel.
By the end of the course, the students would be able to speak, understand, write and read in both Amharic and Arabic to foster free communication among the two nations, he said.
The Dean also disclosed that, his College would exert effort to strengthen relations of the countries through higher education and planning specific academic and non-academic cooperation among others.
University of Gondar President Dr. Dessalegn Mengesha for his part noted that the partnership will further continue with practical results of the universities’. Sudan has been a strategic partner of Ethiopia working on people to people relations and economic cooperation, said Samuel, adding the agreement is critical to scale up the mutual benefit of the countries to this end.
The University of Gondar is working with over 100 international and domestic partners in various disciplines to improve operations both from academic and non academic spectrums, he stated.
_BY YOHANES JEMANEH
ADDIS ABABA – Ministry of Culture and Tourism said it would take appropriate legal measures against illegal tour guides so long as they do not restrain themselves from the tour business.
“We together with the tour guides association are following closely these wrong doers . Sooner or later ,they will be held accountable for their illegal acts and damage cost in tour business as a whole, ” said Tewedros Derebew, Director of Tourist Service Quality Assurance and Grading at the Ministry.
He also said having extensive discussion on action plan in this regard with the association,the ministry is set to apply the action plan in the near future.
As a way froward, the Director noted that the Ministry is expected to notify tourism service providers about the unlawful activities of such pseudo tour guides in a bid to apply strong inspection in tourist destinations.
For his part ,tour guide Abiy Dagne asserted that illegal tour guides have been creating havoc in tour business than ever before.
“These individuals with the connivance of some foreigners are harming the business taking advantages over the shortage of skillful local guides.”
As a birding tour guide, this year alone, Abiy has served some five tourist groups and individual visitors across the country where specific Ethiopian birds are found, but he would served more than this if the illegal guides restrained from their wrong doings.
Working with Chinese tourists, he observed that some illegitimate tour guides competing with him and his colleagues, he said.
He also urged for the improv ement of the low quality of tourist lodges and hotels.
Nurgi Birding Ethiopia Tour Operating Company Manager Nigusie Toye also noted that some overseas tourist companies that are operating here are disrupting the tour business hiring illegal tour guides.
“We need discussion forums to present our complaints and discuss on possible mechanisms to curb the problem."
Today, there are over 300 and 500 tour guides and town operators respectively engaging in the sector working to upgrade the country’s tourism through guiding tourists and promoting the industry to the world.
BY YOHANES JEMANEH