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Ethiopia: What Happen to the Development Plan For New Parliament

Few years back; this news was posted on Fortune Newspaper.

A development plan is to be drawn up by the city administration for a new parliament building in front of the gate of Menelik Palace.

A shortage of offices in the current compound at Arat Kilo, which Parliament shares with the House of the Federation, is what prompted the request for the Local Development Plan on August 26, 2008.

“We are faced with shortage of offices. Thus the government has decided to construct a new multi-purpose edifice,” Degife Bula, speaker of the House of Federation told Fortune.

The site is located between the Lorenzo Tezaz and Colson streets, It is currently occupied by: The Palace Garage; privately owned houses and shops; a Kebele administration; and the Agency for Government Houses (AGH). When Parliament finalizes preparation to construct the complex, all of them will be relocated.

“Four years ago, when we first heard that the plot was granted to Parliament, businesses in the area had established a share company. However, because there were no activities to construct the complex afterwards, our share company faded away,” Tesfaye Birega, owner of a Tej (traditional liquor made of honey) shop told Fortune. “Now is the time for us to come together again.”

According to a regulation by the Council of Ministers, constructions for government purposes are mainly the mandate of the Ministry of Works and Urban Development (MoWUD). Therefore the ministry will undertake the construction of the building.

The Parliament’s complex is expected to house its main convention hall, offices for the 547 MPs, the administrative staff, the 13 standing committees and the whips from both the Ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the opposition political parties.

However, until now no plan has been undertaken to identify the kind of buildings to be erected on the plot.

“Parliament has requested us to undertake the plan and we would include it in our plan for the 2008/09 fiscal year,” Mekuria Haile, City general manager told Fortune.

The initiative to construct a new complex for Parliament first came during the term of Dawit Yohannes, a predecessor of the current house speaker, Teshome Toga. Dawit had been striving to secure the required finance for the construction from Arab and European countries, a source from Parliament told Fortune.

Parliament, which has 547 members and more than 20 groups, including the standing committees and whips, is currently faced with an extreme shortage of offices that pushed it to construct a temporary building.

Accordingly, it decided two weeks ago to construct a temporary particleboard building for six of the whips in a plot in front of Parliament building, along the road to Social Security Agency, right next to the plot where the ruling party plans to construct its eight-storey headquarters building.

The Ethiopian Chipwood and Furniture Company (ECAFCO) has been awarded the project for construction of this particleboard building, while an agreement has been reached to award the design work for the huge complex – which is expected to be finished in five years – to experts from England and Ultimate Plan Plc, a local company whose major shareholder is Begziabher Alebel.

Officials at the two houses have not yet reached an agreement on whether to transform the current Parliament building in to a museum, or to give it back to the House of Federation once Parliament has moved to its new building.

Degife, however, hopes that both houses would move to the huge structure and the current Parliament building would become a museum.



Ethiopia has passed through three different parliaments in its constitutional history; the parliament of Emperor Haile-Selassie I, the National Shengo (Assembly) of the Derg regime and the Federal Parliament of Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

These parliaments have assumed different powers and duties pertinent to the particular policy of the government in power.  The first parliament in Ethiopia was put into effect in 1931 during the reign of Emperor H. Selassie I.

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