Despite a number of social media campaigns over the recent announcement by the Ethiopian government to hold a 10-day celebration and speculation over monetary outlays that it would potentially entail, Negeri Lencho, head of government communications affairs office, told The Reporter today that neither his office nor any other government agency would spend any money to celebrate the events.
“Unlike some others, who were trying to shed a negative light on the event, we did not have the plan or the intention to spend a penny on the scheduled events,” he said.
The celebration is expected to be mainly supported by private businesses and private citizens. For this purpose, the Government Communications Affairs Office has requested Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation to open a special bank account.
Those who want to contribute may do so using the account, he noted, adding that contributions in kind would also be welcomed.
Just a couple of weeks ago, a directive that called for cost-cutting measures by government agencies came into effect. It stressed the need to reduce expenses and urged caution over the way federal agencies utilize their budgets.
The directive listed a number of activities and procurement practices that should be adopted.
Among other things, government offices are forbidden from purchase of T-shirts, tote bags and cultural dresses that have become common practice across government institutions.
“We are very aware of this directive and we fully comply with it,” said Negari.
Things that could be used in the celebrations could also be contributed in kind, he said.
The government on Thursday announced that the planned celebration would be held with the theme, “Era of Rising”. The series of events will go on until New Year’s Eve, September 10, 2017.
The celebrations are also said to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the third Ethiopian millennium.
The 10-day program also includes days dedicated to peace, the Ethiopian syllabary and a day to discuss challenges of the past decade.
During the celebrations a number of government offices and private companies will involve in support of the events. Serawit and Shiewferaw Multimedia Companies will host some of the events.
“For the time being these two companies are speculated to have offered their service free of charge,” according a senior officials from the same office.
However, the 10-day celebration will also be commemorated across all the regional states. And The Reporter could not confirm if the individual regional administrations have specific plan to spend money on the celebrations or not.
By Dawit Endeshaw