The Reporter (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Universal Approval Greets New Minister of Mines

State minister of mines and former chief of the Ethiopian Geological Survey, Tolossa Shagi Moti, has been sworn in as the new Minister of Mines before the House of Peoples' Representatives (HPR).

Upon the approval of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister presented Tolossa's nomination for the House's endorsement. He takes over from Sinknesh Ejigu, who resigned from her office last month and has reportedly been assigned to head Ethiopia's diplomatic mission in one of the world's emerging economies, Brazil. It would make Sinkensh the first Ethiopian ambassador to the South American nation.

President of the Federal Supreme Court, Tegegn Meles, led the oath ceremony.

Before securing the endorsement Tolossa had served as the state minister of mines since 2011.

Government Whip of the House, Roman Gebreselassie, presented the credentials of the newly appointed minister, whose nomination was endorsed with an absolute majority vote.

After hearing Tolossa's profile MPs praised the nominee during the discussion session.

According to the profile presented before the House, Tolossa has spent all his educational career and working experience in the geological and mining sectors.

He received his Bachelor of Science in geology from Addis Ababa University in 1982, and Master of Science in applied geology from the Indian Institute of Technology. Tolossa has also completed short-term training at home and abroad in various fields, including geo-science, management and mining resources development administration.

Unlike the conventional trend of the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)-led government, Tolossa's nomination gained acceptance because of his educational background and rich working experience, which directly fits the requirement.

From 1983 to 2010 he worked for the Ethiopian Geological Survey, starting as a junior geologist and working up to the post of director general. He also served as a senior geo-technique expert at the Ministry of Agriculture for six years.

For twenty years Tolossa acquired rich experience in the mining sector, notably as an expert in geological survey mapping, mining exploration and geo-technique investigation. The government has prioritized the mining sector as an area for development. After the EPRDF assumed power in 1991, Ezedin Ali, a mining engineer, was appointed as what was then the Minister of Mines and Energy. After Ezedin none of the following incumbents heading the Ministry of Mines had direct qualifications that meet the technical nature of the mining sector. Ambassador Mahmud Drir was a political science and journalism graduate, while Alemayehu Tegenu and Sinknesh Ejigu were graduates of hydrology and chemistry respectively.

Meanwhile, sources told The Reporter that the newly appointed minister is expected to face "serious" challenges with regards to high staff turnover. However, they indicated that Tolossa's appointment is expected to be warmly received by the employees, as he knows the sector well and has a strong educational background.

The source also revealed that most experts have left the ministry for private mining companies in search of better pay.

Ed.'s Note: Kaleyesus Bekele has contributed to this story.

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