By Fasika Tadesse Fortune Staff Writer
Position had been vacant for two months after Prime Minister’s office removed Ziad Woldegebriel
Prime Minster Hailemariam Dessalegn is considering to assign Getachew Equbay brother of Arkebe Equbay as director general of the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) replacing the former director general Zaid Woldegebriel.
Getcahew had been general manager of Mesfin Industrial Engineering Plc (MIE) for a couple of years. And he had also been general manager of Messebo Cement Factory Plc. Both companies Getcahew worked for are affiliates of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), a group of companies established by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
We are still on the evaluation process of the eight candidates we short listed for the post and the evaluation process will be finalised in a month time, said Workneh Gebeyehu, minister of Transport, but sources said that the government is waiting for Getachew to return from a trip abroad in order to issue a letter notifying him his appointment.
The Prime Minister’s Office removed Zaid from his post on October 30, 2014 by a request from Ministry of Transport (MoTr) headed by Workneh, saying that the whole Authority needed to be restructured. After the removal the Prime Minister Office assigned an acting director general Sisay Bekele who has been serving in the Authority as deputy director general for Human Resource & Finance, one of the three deputy generals in the Authority; the other two being for the engineering and planning, effective from November 3, 2014.
According to official from the MoTr, Zaid was removed in order to solve two problems related to road design and exaggerated construction costs caused by improper tender processes. The recent contract cost for road construction ranges between 20 million Br to 25 million Br for a kilometer far above the average rate of 12 million Br per kilometer premeditated by the World Bank (WB). A recent study by Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) disclosed that road project design problems are causing time delay and are pushing budgets beyond limit.
ERA was established during the imperial regime, with duties to plan, design, construct, and maintain roads; however, it has been restructured and renamed several times since then. Its last restructure was in 1997, when it was subordinated to the MoTr, and was tasked to develop and administer highways and to ensure the adherence of standards during road construction. Zaid became director general of the ERA in 2004, replacing Tesfamichael Nahusenay, who left ERA to assist Arkebe Ekubay when he became mayor of Addis Abeba and later Tesfamichael left the city administration and join the WB.
Zaid has a BA degree in Economics from Addis Abeba University (AAU), as well as a Masters degree in Transport Economics from Leeds University in the United Kingdom(UK). He has worked in the transport sector for the past 30 years, starting at the Federal Transport Authority (FTA) and at MoTr as planning department head. He joined the ERA in 1998 as planning head, and becomes the director general in 2004.
According to sources Getachew received the offer and will take the post by this week.