Addis Ababa Mayor Office reports $US 45 million or about 2.2 billion Ethiopian birr renovation cost
Located at the heart of Addis Ababa and an excellent view to most parts of the city, the exquisite Addis Ababa City Administration is one of the great architectural excellence in the city.
It was built during the time of the Imperial government of Haileselassie in the early 1960s. Adanech Abeibie, was first appointed by Abiy Ahmed as acting Mayor of Addis Ababa in August 2020 and later elected as mayor in September 2021, launched a project to renovate it.
Renovation completed and inaugurated over the weekend. She described it as “The building is not just a heritage for our city but an expensive and lasting asset that will be maintained for generations.”
After the financial cost of it is announced to the public, there seems to be a sentiment among Ethiopians that the project needs to be audited.
The city administration is claiming that it spent over 2.2 billion Ethiopian birr (equivalent to about $US 45 million).
Some are making comparisons to the latest 36-floor stories building in the city, which was inaugurated by President Sahlework Zewde. Hibret Bank spent an equivalent amount of money on its brand-new building.
Others tend to think 2.2 billion birr spending just on renovation is suspicious. A good chunk of the money might have been either squandered or stolen.
There are still others who criticise the spending from the point of view of poor decision-making in prioritising development projects in the country. In that regard, some think it would have been better if the government focused on projects like The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Others say the spending is irresponsible at a time when extensive destruction of social infrastructures in the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia are in need of reconstruction.
The mayor (and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government) was in smiles when she was taking government officials for a tour of the newly renovated Imperial Haileselassie time landmark structure in the city. She gets it that the public is disenchanted about, but she does not seem to care about that. And there is no such thing as government accountability. It is theoretically weak and practically absent in Ethiopia.
Abiy Ahmed’s government has been making unpopular decisions including in the political sphere, like ordering the defence force not to pursue TPLF forces to the Tigray region and the release of TPLF war criminals, in recent months. But he has experience in easily getting away with critical mistakes that impacted the country negatively. In fact, it sounds rather more of the ethnic nature of the government system that made it easy for politicians to get away with crime-like political decisions rather than one that is informed by economic imperative.
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