EBC makes 900% rent increase on employee housings
Contradicting the existing State of Emergency (SoE) the government has enacted to battle the coronavirus pandemic, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) has put into action a revised housing rent prices on its employees, forcing them to pay up to 900 percent more in their monthly rent prices, The Reporter has learnt.
According to residents residing in the housings under the state broadcaster’s control, the organization’s decision came into effect in March and tenants have already been forced to pay, based on the newly revised monthly rent, cut from their March and April salaries.
The residents, who have been leaving there for 10 to 20 years located in Zenebework area in the premises of the former Ethiopian Radio, told The Reporter that the latest decision of their employer was unfair and has come at the wrong time. In addition, the current SoE designates clear provisions that prevent house owners (private and state) from increasing rent against their respective customers until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
One of the residents, who requested to remain anonymous, said the management’s decision has come without considering the employee’s actual situation, of which most earn low salaries.
According to sources, EBC owns 100 houses all over the country and 50 houses in Addis Ababa in different sizes, inside the Former Radio Ethiopia compound in Jimma Ber, South West of Addis Ababa.
According to the information The Reporter obtained from residents, the new adjustment of rent price includes on houses which charge 138 birr per month which has now been increased to 1,000 birr. A two bedroom house with a monthly rent of 182 birr surged to 1,600 birr per month.
Other housings have also seen price adjustments of a 700 to 900 percent increase. Housings which have been rented for 40 birr per month, has also been raised to 500 birr, according to sources.
EBC, according to the same sources, has not only increased the stated housings in Addis Ababa, but has also made adjustments to houses the agency owns, in various regional towns where its correspondents and other staff members live.
Furthermore, the new increment has also come without an agreement. Nevertheless, as of this week, officials have told them to sign the agreement based on the new adjustments.
In contrast, EBC has not made similar adjustments to other employees who live in the Federal Housing Agency.
The Reporter has also learnt that, the latest decision made by EBC’s management is the organization’s plan, set to collect a minimum of some 600,000 birr of revenue annually, from these employees who fall under the rent schemes.
However, the employees residing in the houses argue that the new revised price came without a proper review. For instance, the residents always renovate their houses whenever it needs it, spending from their own pocket. Yet, the organization has forced them to pay more without taking into consideration investments made on the houses.
Getahun Tima, Head of Asset Administration at EBC, told The Reporter that the new revision was decided earlier; even before COVID-19 was declared in Ethiopia.
He further said that residents have been paying the rent with the old price that had been set many years ago.
“We reached this decision upon recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor General,” he said. He further noted that the amount of the new increment is not too big when compared to the quality of the houses and the actual condition that exists today.
He also defended that the decision was made with the consents of most of the residents, if not all.