When members of parliament return from recess, they
will have a juicy bill on the legislative menu.
Gossip disclosed Ethiopia's parliament will be
required to ratify a bill that will determine the
privileges and benefit package designed by the
Council of Ministers for ministers, state ministers
and deputy ministers when they are relieved of their
public service responsibilities.
So far, it has only been the president of the nation
privileged to enjoy such benefits. When the
president leaves office, he departs Emperor
Hailesellasie's Jubilee Palace, on Menekil II
Avenue, with a retirement package comprising 5,000
Br monthly salary; free housing; security details
and, perhaps a government vehicle and driver.
Whether or not this has ever been fully provided is
what Negasso Gidada (PhD), the only ex-president
residing in the country, could bear out. Well, as an
MP who ended up there after campaigning on a private
platform, he will have his moment in Parliament when
the bill is tabled in a few weeks, gossip said.
Government officials with ministerial rank are
entitled to a free 500Sqm plot to build their
residence. That had been a long term asset they
would have left with upon relinguishing government
positions that pay ministers and their deputies
monthly salaries a little over 4,000 Br.
Now, the current administration wanted to do a
little more than that, a view some ministers in the
cabinet feel is a long overdue gesture. Why would
this government take 18 years to compensate those
that provided loyal service in a manner that is done
20 times better in Kenya and Uganda, was a question
indeed whispered in the corridors of power, gossip
Well, better late than never.
The new bill begins by granting departing ministers
the right to be awarded a colourful certificate
handed over by the Prime Minister in recognition of
distinguished public service. Add to that, a
life-time privilege of departure and arrival through
the VIP lounge at the various airports, including
Bole International Airport.
The bill also provides departing ministers the right
to monetary compensation on top of the retirement
scheme, to be calculated progressively and on their
base salary, gossip disclosed. Estimated not to
exceed a monthly allowance of 1,500 Br, this
monetary compensation would run for between five to
10 years, depending on the seniority of the minister
leaving public office, according to gossip.
Gossip hardly expects misgivings among the public
over an issue to pay this token gesture to probably
not more than 50 people at any given time. It
certainly will not be that much of a burden with
potential to inflate the budget deficit.
The trouble will begin if over 500 MPs, whose
goodwill and understanding the administration
appreciates in voting in favour of this bill, also
demand as much compensation when they leave the
House of Peoples Representatives. Indeed, there are
as many in the Federation Council who may think they
deserve treatment equal to their colleagues in
Parliament, gossip anticipates.