Despite an announcement from the government that some developmental projects will be suspended to prioritize support for drought affected population, the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) insist that road projects planned for the current year will continue as planned. Sources at ERA indicated that there have been no requests from the government to suspend road projects, due to the current drought. ERA is a major spender in the federal budget; this budget year alone the government has allocated 35 billion birr for the authority, 24 billion of ERA’s budgetis from public treasury, while the rest is financed by international loans.
Since the El Nino induced drought hit the country affecting millions of peoples in rural areas of the country, support from international donors has been underwhelming. In response, the government disclosed that it will suspend some governmental projects to prioritize aid for affected areas.
However, exactly which projects from which sectors shall be suspended has not yet been disclosed.
A week ago the Parliament has also approved 18 billion birr supplementary budget in addition to the 223.3 billion birr budget announced in July for the 2015/16 fiscal year. The additional funds released, mainly to address the drought, have led to speculation that planned projects will no longer need to be suspended.
From the total additional budget 14.78 billion birr has been allocated for the El Nino effect, while the balance will go to capital expenditure of Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity.
An estimated 10.2 million citizens in the five affected regions in the country will need urgent aid over the coming year, expected to cost as high as USD 1.4 billion.