Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Roads Authority Floats Int'l Tender for U.S.$50 Million Road Project

The Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) floated a tender for the design of a road to be constructed with 90pc loan whose approval is still not final at the House of Peoples Representatives.

The project involves the 80.5Km road from Gedo to Menebegna in Wollega Zone of Oromia. This project, part of the bigger Gedo-Lemlem Bereha project, which is 144.3kms, is expected to cost 50 million dollars. The government will chip in only five million dollars to this project which is getting the rest of the money from three different Arab sources.

The first agreement was reached inLisbon,Portugal, with the Arab Bank for Economic Development inAfricaon June 14, 2011 for 10 million dollars. Two other agreements were signed on October 9 and 11, 2012, with the Abu Dhabi Fund inAbu Dhabiand with the Saudi Fund for development in Addis Abeba for 10 million dollars and 25 million dollars, respectively.

The House of Peoples' Representatives referred these loans to the Finance and Budget Standing Committee on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. Nevertheless, the ERA had already announced the design tender on November 22 and 23 on state-owned Ethiopian Herald newspaper, even before the standing committee had a chance to look at the loan agreements.

A member of the standing committee defended the act.

"Usually the Roads Authority is criticized for delaying projects," he said. "We look positively at it floating the tender before the loans have been approved. If the parliament rejects the agreements, ERA has full right to cancel the tenders."

Arab and African construction companies participating in the tender will get a 10pc preference, according to the bill presented to the parliament.

"The construction of these roads will help to ease the transport problems of Fincha Sugar Factory and other agricultural products to the market," said Samson Wendimu, Communication Director of Ethiopian Road Authority.

The other part of this project, the 63.8km road from Menebegna to Lemlem Bereha, is already under construction by SUR Construction, with the budget fully coming from the government. ERA awarded this project to SUR and got this project on December 22, 2010, for 637.2 millionBr.

This project is scheduled to be completed on December 21, 2013. SUR started work in October 2011, according to Tadesse Yemane, general manager of the company. By September 2012 only 8.5km was completed, and payment transferred to the company, according to Samson. Tadesse says that 50kms of the rest of the road is on level ground and that the company has already finished the earth work. Machineries are already at the site for the asphalt work, he said.

Sur Construction Company has 20 years profile in building different projects in the country that includes the constructions of Lalibela - Sekota road andLalibelaAirport.

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