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NewsTelebirr, fuel authority prepare to launch fuel subsidies in Tigray

Telebirr, fuel authority prepare to launch fuel subsidies in Tigray

Tigrayan public servants to take “refresher training” in Addis Ababa

The Petroleum and Energy Authority is collaborating with ethio telecom’s telebirr to launch a targeted fuel subsidy program in Tigray regional state. Over 56 percent of the region’s fuel stations are operational as the region attempts to resume normal operations after two years of war.

Until the program begins in the region, Tigray’s transportation service providers will purchase fuel without the 75 percent subsidy. The program is only available after fuel stations and vehicle owner’s sign up for the telebirr application.

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“We have already discussed this with the appropriate stakeholders. The subsidy program will begin in Tigray very soon,” the Authority’s director general, Sahrela Abdulahi, told The Reporter.

Over the course of the week, officials from the Ministry of Transport and Logistics (MoTL) visited Tigray and met with officials from the newly formed Tigray Interim Administration. (TIA).

“Public transport providers must be registered and linked to the telebirr application before benefiting from the fuel subsidy scheme. We are working to onboard telebirr, the Petroleum and Energy Authority, and the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration,” Dange Boru, state minister for infrastructure development and logistics at MoTL, told members of the TIA.

In January, teams from the MoTL, Ethiopian telecom, and oil companies traveled to Tigray to assess the situation on the ground. However, TIA members claim that the resumption of the fuel subsidy application has been delayed.

“Transportation costs are many times higher in Tigray because there is no fuel subsidy.” It has to begin as soon as possible. The subsidy team had previously came. They promised to start the program even manually,” Almaz Gebretsadik, head of the TIA’s Urban Development and Construction Bureau, told federal ministers visiting the region this week. According to Almaz, transportation in Tigray is unaffordable without the fuel subsidy.

So far, public transportation connecting Tigray to other regional states and Addis Ababa has been suspended for months after the two-year war ended in November 2022. This is primarily because of the fuel subsidy program and security concerns. After the federal government approved the TIA a few weeks ago, several other services have yet to resume.

Yet, federal government officials say that public services in Tigray cannot be resumed immediately.

“We need to provide refresher trainings before public servants in the region begin providing services to Tigrayans,” Dange said.

The employees will travel to Addis Ababa for the training. Meanwhile, several institutional reforms and new legislation enacted over the last two years will be implemented in Tigray. “We are planning targeted subsidy program trainings for Tigray trade bureau workers at the woreda, kebele, and zonal levels. In terms of vehicle registration, MoTL is working on it,” Sahrela added.

Telebirr, on the other hand, is already planning to launch its application in Tigray. “From our end, we are always ready to support and serve at the direction of the government,” ethio telecom officials told The Reporter.

Approximately 370 base transmission stations remain inoperable in conflict-affected areas, according to Frehiwot Tamiru, CEO of ethio telecom.

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