Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ethiopian MPs, grilled Debretshion over telecom’s poor service

Listening to performance reports before the completion of every fiscal year is one of the tasks of Parliament. However, the trend that is being observed in the House is an unprecedented one. The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front-dominated Parliament dominated assembly of lawmakers has begun challenging and criticizing government reports and anything they deem inappropriate unlike previous times. This was witnessed on Thursday when the minister of Communication and Information Technology, Debretsion Gebremichael (Ph.D.) was presenting the 10-month work performance to which most of the reports focused on the success he said was achieved in the Telecom service. But the MPs were critical of the report. While highlighting the work performance of Ethio Telecom, which is responsible to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Debretsion reported that the number of mobile subscriber in the current month of the fiscal year had reached 22.4 million while the plan was to make it at least 23.86 million by the end of the year.However, the minister’s reported did not escape strong comments and challenging criticism from MPs, specially with regard to “poor quality of telecom services” and frequent interruption of mobile networks.Of course, Debretshion, on his part, did not deny the criticism but tried to defend Ethio telecom with a heightened emotion. “It [Ethio Telecom] is like a newly-born infant. It is only a two-and-a-half-year-old infant. It is undergoing reconstruction. But it strives to do its best. We could not halt the service just because it’s reconstructing,” Debretsion, whose tone sounded agitated, told lawmakers.

“Hon. Minster, said an MP, “”we appreciated your report. I have noticed that you are emotionally defending the telecom service provider. However, if you go to the different woredas or even bigger towns, you can see frequent network interruption. There is even no service in some areas,” one of the MPs said. The question in turn made Debretsion smile and Speaker Abadula and the rest of MPs joined him with laughter. “Sorry if you find me pretty emotional. But that might be my nature but I am not annoyed. It is rather my pleasure to see our parliament like this sort of interaction and more debate,” was Debretsion’s which in turn made the MPs smile. A few years ago the management of Ethio telecom had been outsourced to France telecom before it was retained back six months ago. The very reason of outsourcing the company to the French company was to reform it and upgraded its management to an advanced level believed to be more competitive in the global arena.But observers question that the outsourcing of the company bore less result than the intended goal it was expected to achieve. In fact, the company is still run by the same CEO from France Telecom. Source (Reporter)


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