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Employees of Ethio Telecom have voiced their complaints following their rejection by the Addis Ababa Housing Development Administration Agency to be a part of the new housing lottery process.
The employees were registered on a special listing six months ago to get condominium houses after Ethio Telecom abandoned its plan to construct residential houses for its employees. The employees were left in limbo after they were also kicked out of the condominium housing lottory process.
In the latest lottery draw for condominium houses, city dwellers who had registered a decade ago were given priority. According to the employees, some of them had registered on the condo housing program ten years ago. They forego an opportunity during a re-registration of the 2005 applicants, and the most recent round of registration that took place about a year and half ago believing their employer’s promise.
The state telecom monopoly Ethio Telecom had announced in September 2014 it will not go ahead with its plan to construct the houses. The telecom company had registered home buyers, who are its employees working in Addis Ababa offices and who do not have their own house.
The employees said that they had saved the adequate amount of money for six months since last September, but the latest lottery process included only customers that had save adequate amounts for the past 16 months.
“If we knew that we had to put aside the whole sum from the time of beginning of the registration, we could have settled the past amounts. But we have deposited the monthly duty required since our registration,” they complained.
The employees blamed the telecom company and the Addis Ababa Houses Agency for failure to inform them that they had to save the total amount of deposit from the beginning of the program.
Andualem Admassie, CEO of Ethio telecom, told Capital that 72 employees of the enterprise are included on the recent winners list. “That means some of the employees have settled the adequate saving. But other employees who were not included on the current lottery have submitted their claims to me,” he added.
A year and half ago the public enterprise registered thousands of employees with the goal of attaining condominium houses from the Addis Ababa Housing Development Agency. According to the original plan, Ethio Telecom would pay the cost of the houses and the employees in return would pay back the enterprise from their salary over a long term.
Sources said that the housing agency had informed the telecom company that it would not go with the telecom’s housing plan, and the agency had offered that the employees be include on a special registration after the official announcement of the scrapped plan.
According to Andualem, about 15 employees who were registered under the 20/80 scheme for three bedroom condos have sought for reconsideration. The appealers said they have been saving for ten months, but they have been omitted on the current lottery as the lottery only included customers who had been saving over 16 months.
The employees said that they could not make deposits for the entire stated period as they got registered late on the housing program after the discovery of Ethio Telecom’s abandonment of its original plan.
“I have talked about the issue with the relevant government officials to settle their claims,” the telecom CEO said. “We are waiting for the response from the Addis Ababa Housing Development Administration Agency,” he said. The employees told Capital that the number of employees that were excluded from the current housing lottery scheme is greater than the number of appealers in dialogue with the telecom’s CEO.
Information indicated that there is an excess of over 300 three bedroom houses that have not been distributed during the current lottery. Most of the customers that were registered in 2005 and re-registered for the three bedroom condo and paid for over 16 months have been awarded their house in the current lottery.
During the condominium lottery ceremony held on Sunday March 22, the Addis Ababa Housing Development Administration Agency transferred 35,000 houses to lucky winners. On this lottery customers who were registered in 2005 on the 20/80 scheme and 1,000 dwellers who registered on the 10/90 scheme were included.
More than 900,000 people had registered in 2005 to get condominium houses. In the past ten years, 136,000 houses have been transferred to lucky winners and the administration promised to deliver 75,000 more houses this fiscal year.
Around 1,200 houses of the 40/60 program and more than 30,000 condominium houses are expected to be transferred to winners until the end of this Ethiopian year.
During the annual meeting between the employees and the management in September last year, the telecom board had disclosed that the enterprise will focus on financing other developmental projects rather than spending money on housing for its employees.
Capital’s effort to speak to Mesfin Mengestu, Head of the Addis Ababa Housing Development Administration Agency on the matter was unsuccessful.