Wednesday, January 18, 2023
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SocietyBill proposes independent body for aircraft accident investigation

Bill proposes independent body for aircraft accident investigation

Bureau cannot launch an investigation unless recommended by MoT

The House of People’s Representatives has discussed a bill which proposes the establishment of an independent body which holds the power and the exclusive jurisdiction to the conduct aircraft accidents and incidents investigation in Ethiopia.

The bill entitled “Proclamation to Provide for the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation” was presented for discussion during House’s 26th regular session held on Tuesday.

According to Amanuel Abrham, Deputy Government Whip, the draft aims to create a strong system that would help curb aircraft accidents in a way that suits the country’s ever increasing air transport service.

Safety is a very important aspect in the aviation industry, according to Amanuel, and part of insuring safety is being able to conduct independent and impartial investigation on aircraft accident and identifying safety deficiencies from aviation occurrences.

Previously, the aircraft investigation team was under the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority at a directorate level. This was one of the deficiencies that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has pointed out in its recent safety oversight audit findings of the authority. According to the audit findings, both licensing and accident investigation authority cannot be bestowed on a single entity. And hence has to be corrected.

The bill stipulates ten duties and responsibilities for the proposed autonomous bureau, which includes the power to get “unfettered access and control” over an aircraft accident scene and any relevant materials, tests and evidence from the surrounding of the accident scene.

Similarly, the bureau is to have exclusive jurisdiction over the conduct of safety investigations into aircraft, accidents and serious incidents, provide, however, that it may not launch an investigation unless recommended by Ministry of Transport or the other concerned bodies.

However, according to the same provision, if a civil aircraft accident occurred within a military reserved area, the bureau shall not commence investigation unless authorized by Ministry of Defense (MoD).

After a short deliberation on the overall content of the bill, the House referred it to the Transport Affairs Standing Committee for further scrutiny.

If the House approves the bill, the Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau would be established soon after.

Meanwhile, the House has also endorsed a draft proclamation providing for the Financing Agreement between Ethiopia and International Development Association (IDA), lending arm of World Bank, in order of USD 33 million.

The financing agreement stipulates that IDA will provide the specified sum to Ethiopia for the running of the Public Financial Management Project, a program that seeks to improve the efficiency, transparency and accountability of federal and state government expenditures. The loan would be paid back in 38 years with six years probation period.

In a related news, Good Governance Cluster Coordinator with the Rank of Deputy Prime Minister and Public Service and Human Resource Development Minister, Aster Mamo, also presented her Ministry’s nine-month performance report to the house earlier in the week.

In her presentation, Aster said, in spite of challenges, various changes and reform programs have been implemented at the federal and state institutions thereby making improvements in good governance deficit in these institutions.

All civil servants at all levels were evaluated based on the Balanced Score Card principles except senior officials, Aster said to the parliament. But, this has to change, the minister told MPs; hence, the Ministry has prepared a new evaluation method to evaluate the performance of senior government officials.

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