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The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) positively acknowledged the problems it faced while trying to provide a flawless transport system in the country. The problems arise from the federal political structure the country has been following for over two decades. The authority claims that regional authorities labeled it “a vanguard of the old regime” whenever it tried to comply with the rules and regulation of the country related to traffic safety. “The authority is performing its duties amid challenges. Of course working in the transport sector of a given country has both challenges and opportunities. The opportunities are being able to shoulder responsibilities that connect us with stakeholders of the economy, while the challenges arise from the legal mandate the authority is entrusted with. We can’t discharge them on our own without the determination and cooperation of our stakeholders. The lack of such a positive move from stakeholders retards the authority’s drive to achieve any of its targets,” said Kasahun Hailemariam, Director General of the Authority while explaining the challenges his office faced to MPs.
“Such working conditions are draining our professional satisfaction, which might be generated from professional contribution to the country’s economic progress,” he added.
Though transport is one sector of the economy, it works with all other sectors he said. “Transportation is a trans-boundary activity. It is a relation that exists among people while the power to perform such an all encompassing activity is shared among regional states. Therefore, every regional state needs to be on the same footing in order to establish a flawless transport system. That means building the capacity of regional states. To bring regional authorities to a relatively equal level of understanding, we are trying to use every possible avenue. In some regional states, there is a lack of capacity, while in others there is lack of political will. The lack of capacity is related to high turnover of human resource. That retards our progress,” he argued.
“The impact is like missing a brick while building a house at some stage before it is completed. Though the house seems to be in the process of completion, there is still a missing element. Such a process increases the vulnerability of the sector to shocks,” he said while explaining the impact of human resource turnover in different parts of the country.
Road Safety:
Road accidents have increased at an alarming rate. The authority planned to reduce the accident rate to 40 percent from where it was two years ago by the end of the Growth of Transformation Plan (GTP) which ends in 2015. However, a report released by Federal Police last September shows that it has increased to 74 percent from 64 percent at the launch of the GTP, two years ago. .
“Though the government managed to implement large scale development projects on its own, it has not managed to avert the problem related to road safety. This can be done through cooperation of stakeholders. There are rules and regulations in the country which are up to the international standard,” said Kasahun. 
The government drafted and enacted rules and procedures based on international good practices. The traffic law, drivers’ competency law, vehicles competency, and third party insurance are new rules the government promulgated to ensure road safety. 
“The root cause of traffic accidents is driver negligence. It accounts for more than 80 percent of the cases. Though we have strict laws like the rest of the world, its application lacks uniformity. For instance, in the rest of the world if a driver does not abide by traffic light rules and procedures, more than three times, their driving license will be revoked. Therefore, any driver who is on the road, let alone costing human life, has to simply abide to rules and regulations. Otherwise, face a consequence that can destabilize one’s life. Thus, a driver will be on high alert while driving. Such strict practices regarding the rules and regulations of traffic force drivers to be cautious all the time,” explained the director general.
“In our case, driver’s licenses are given in every part of the country. The same holds true for vehicle registrations. The drivers do not end up using their license in the region they have been issued. The law does not prohibit such practices. Therefore, if the driver’s license issued in Benishangul Gumuz does not ensure competency like the one issued in Addis Ababa, traffic accidents cannot be prevented. The competency of institutions issuing driver’s licenses needs to be standardized and their application needs to be strict,” added Kasahun.
Cognizant of the problem, the government has developed standards. Though stakeholders agreed upon its importance, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding, its application has remained poor since there is a lack of will in implementation, according to the director general.