by Muluken Yewondwossen
At the request of Prime Minster Abiy Amhed (PhD) the number of ministries will be cut to 16 when parliament returns from recess at the beginning of October, Capital has learned.
Relevant sources stated that several ministry offices are engaged in restructuring and mergers after a recommendation from the Prime Minister. Under this new arrangement the number of state ministers will increase and work under some ministry offices.
Excluding the Deputy PM and Speaker of the House of Peoples’ Representatives currently there are 28 cabinet members including the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority, Attorney General, Commissioner of National Planning and Chief Government Whip.
A source told Capital that the PM wants to have just 16 ministries and during his recent US tour he asked if any other country in the world had the number of ministries Ethiopia has. He pointed out that this costs the government a lot of money and creates redundancy in job responsibilities. The PM also said that in some cases the tasks an agency undertakes are not enough to justify a ministry and instead can be handled under several larger ministries.
One expert agreed with the PM saying that enormous resources are allocated for a single minister including allocating three vehicles with drivers and other position benefits.
“However, if the position is at the state minister level the cost is reduced and becomes much more reasonable,” a source said. Cabinet level positions are challenging to manage since it takes unnecessary time for the head of government. Reducing the Council of Ministers should make governing more efficient, the source added.
According to sources, some of the ministries up for dissolution include the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Pastoral Area Development, which would be divided under the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Ethiopian National Security Agency. Some others like the Ministry of Industry and the Mining sector are also expected to supervised by other departments.
When he was first appointed the PM moved the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery, which was recently separated from Ministry of Agriculture, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Capital’s effort to talk Ahmed Shide, Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office, Fitsum Arega, Chief of Staff at the PM Office, was unfruitful.