Prime Minister Abiy's Megaprojects in Parliamentary Crosshairs

Jul 1 , 2023

Accountability concerns have surged over the grandiose ventures of the Administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), becoming issues of parliamentary contention last week. The Administration’s ambitious roster of projects, ranging from public parks and squares to luxurious retreats and grand palaces, are under the magnifying glass, with a growing chorus of lawmakers demanding transparency for the projects’ finances. Today’s parliamentary debates have brought the issue of fiscal transparency to the fore, marking it as a hot topic of political discourse. The Administration’s approach to these mega projects are under increasing scrutiny, with lawmakers, and presumably many Ethiopian citizens, eager to understand the financial realities behind these ambitious ventures. The MP from NAMA, Muluken Assefa, has become a leading voice in this unfolding saga, taking issues with the Administration’s decision to bypass audits for the projects. Muluken voiced concern over the mobilization and expenditure linked with these grand undertakings, urging the thorough investigation of potential financial irregularities. Federal Auditor General, Mesert Damite, told Parliament the focus of her audits was primarily on federal agencies that function with budgets ratified by Parliament. However, she did not hesitate to assure the lawmakers that her office would examine the Prime Minister’s large-scale projects if specific and precise questions were posed about them. This surge in financial scrutiny is not entirely new. Parliament has seen similar issues of concern raised in the past over "passion projects” sparking heated debates about the proper allocation and use of public funds. Finance Minister Ahmed Shide also encountered similar inquiries when he presented the budget bill a few weeks prior. He offered an elusive response, stating that these projects were treated "differently" yet he did not elaborate, leaving parliamentarians and the public alike seeking more answers.



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