The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) spent over 53.7 billion Br, nearly a quarter of the country’s total budget on various projects during the last fiscal year. The authority was originally allotted a 33.4 billion Br budget.
The money was used to complete roads, award new road projects and execute on-going road projects. The figure showed a 13 billion Br increment compared to the previous fiscal year, highlighting the country’s heavy focus on capital spending.
The sum of money that the ERA has spent in this past fiscal year displayed an increase of more than 10 billion Br compared to the previous fiscal year
Following Ethiopia’s policy to put the road sector among the top of its development priorities, it now has 110,414km of road networks (asphalt and gravel) countrywide with an ambition of having a 220,000km by the year 2020.
The ERA awarded the construction, rehabilitation and administration of 85 road projects worth 28.7 billion Br during the past fiscal year. The authority also spent a further 25 billion Br on ongoing and completed road projects. Out of the 85 new projects awarded, 55 will involve rehabilitation works; 25, the construction of main roads and five bridges. Fifty-five local construction companies and five international contractors are involved in finalising these projects within a period of three years or less. The Authority secured 62pc of funds from the government’s own pocket, while the remaining 38pc was obtained from foreign countries in loans and aid.
The Konso-Yabelo, Efeson-Mehalmeda, Moricho-Dimtu-Bitnalot, omo-Tercha, Sodo-Tercha, Bilbal-Sekota, Alberekat-Gelemso, Felgebirhan-Zemawonze, Adaba-Angeto, Dicheto-Galafi, Nekemte-Bure, Ankobere-Dulecha, Mojo-Meki, Meki-Ziway, Shambu-Bako road projects, in the Oromia, SNNPR, Amhara and Tigray regions, were the 15 begun during the last fiscal year.
Upgrading and rehabilitation has been made on 19,311km of road – 93pc of the target set for the past year. Last year, international construction firms got involved with the construction of 4,084km of road, 94pc of the set target, encompassing 55 different projects. During the same period, local construction companies won bids to construct 78 ongoing road projects, covering a total length of 5,429km. These firms managed to build 3,091km up until July 7, 2016. The figure, both in terms of the number of companies involved and the distance covered, illustrated a rise, where 31 local and 22 foreign companies had been working on 51 and 47 road projects, respectively, in the previous year.
The 257km Nekemte-Bure road, which used up a massive 5.7 billion Br, is recorded as the single project that takes the bigest amount of money from all other project. The road will link Neqemte in Oromia to Bure in Amhara in the north-western part of Ethiopia, which was previously a gravel road. The road will be upgraded to asphalt concrete, taking into consideration the increasing traffic flow in the area.
The 86.1km Neqemte-Gutin-Andode road, the 87.65km Andode-Agamsa road and the 84.5km Agamsa-Bure road cost 21.4 million Br, 20.8 million Br, 24.6 million Br a km, respectively. This project has three segments, which will be constructed by the Spanish IL & FS Transportation Networks Ltd and the Indian Elsa Mex SA Construction. The road having 12m width in woreda towns and 21.5m width in zonal towns, is set to conclude construction in three years. As part of its contract, the companies will also extend maintenance and administration services for the subsequent five years.
A 7.4km Melkajebdu-Dire-Dewa road project worth 470 million Br was recorded as the most expensive road, in terms of price per kilometre, in the fiscal year. It is planned to consume 63.5 million Br a kilometre. Melkon Construction, a local construction company, which has experience working as a sub-contractor with the China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), plans to complete the project in 18 months.
“The reason for the relatively higher cost of the project is explained by its width of 22m,” Samson Wondimu, the ERA’s public relations head told, Fortune. Upon completion, the road will help farmers around Dire Dawa to transport their products to industries located in the federal chartered city.
Also during the last fiscal year, both in Addis Abeba and regions, 20 road projects were opened for traffic. Bonga-Mizan, Wolkite-Arekit, Arekit-Hosana, Zarema-Mitsbire, Meqelle-Tsertsemendere, Dima-Fiyelwuha, Dedbit-Adiremetse, Lumame-Debremarkos, and Mehalmeda-Abus, as well as Nekemte Alternate Roads are 10 out of these 20 completed roads.
The government, which planned to attain a road density of 200km per 1,000km by 2020, had at the end of 2014/15, a 109km road density per 1,000km – up from the previous year’s 90.5km. This fell short of the 123.7km target set by the first Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP I), which ended the same year.
For the 2016/17 fiscal year, the government has allocated 46.4 billion Br for the road sector. Sixty-two new road projects are expected to begin construction cycles next year. [Adds Fortune]