The Ethiopian Couriers Association requested the Addis Ababa City government to exempt motorcycles owned by delivery companies from the curfew imposed by the State of Emergency. Delivery companies have also complained that their businesses are dwindling since over 1,000 motorcycles could not deliver packages especially in the late afternoons.
In a letter dated November 16, 2021 and addressed to the Addis Ababa City Traffic Management Agency as well as the City Transport Bureau, the association requested for the “stop of mass arrest of motorcycles and verification of the official documents of motorcycles run by delivery companies.” The letter was written just two weeks after government declared a nationwide state of emergency. The city administration passed the ban following the SoE.
However, officials at the Association told The Reporter that both the Agency and the Bureau did not provide any response as of press time.
“The association is trying to change the grim fate of the sector. We asked the agency and transport bureau to lift the ban on motorcycles operated by delivery companies. These motorcycles are licensed; registered, branded and the drivers are under the direct watch of delivery companies, whenever they travel to deliver packages,” said Tigabu Haile, co-founder and CEO of Eshi Express, board chair of the association.
“It is unfair to treat them like illegal motorcycles engaged in criminal activities. Since the ban, we are unable to fleet our motorcycles in the afternoon, in fear of confiscation at curfew time. But we did not get a response still,” added Tigabu.
Birhanu kuma, public relations officer at the traffic agency, told The Reporter that reversing the ban is beyond the mandate of the agency.
“The directive states ‘motor’. It does not specify which motors should be banned or should not. Since the traffic management office implements directives introduced by the city transport bureau, we cannot reverse the directive. So the letter can be reviewed only by the city transport bureau,” Birhanu said.
Nonetheless, Aregawi Maru, public relations head at the City Transport Bureau, told The Reporter that his office is not aware of such letter.
“We did not receive such letter from the association,” Aregawi said.
The association is an umbrella for close to 60 delivery companies. These delivery companies usually deliver food, medicine, blood tastes as well as blood for the blood bank, laboratory sample results, and other institutional packages.
The government can extend the SoE beyond the six months, or lift it ahead of day, based on the solutions of the yearlong conflict in northern Ethiopia.