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The government is announcing a new compensation system for residents and businesses who have their properties demolished when new roads are constructed or expanded.

This comes in response to requests by people who were evicted from their properties to the Ethiopian Roads Authority to increase the amount they were compensated. This is because land prices have risen greatly since the previous compensation system was implemented.

Bekele Nigusse, Director of Federal Integrated Infrastructure Development Coordinating Agency (FIIDCA) told journalists at a ceremony marking the beginning of the new agency that a study will be conducted to come up with a new plan.

Debretsion Gebremichael, Minister of Communication and Information Technology spoke at the opening saying that more will be done to fight corruption when people are relocated.

“When people lost their homes due to road construction they were really angry and to some extent rightfully so because there has been a lot of corruption in this sector and that means the people who are being relocated are not getting a fair price for their homes and businesses, so we expect this agency to work to change this,” he said.

“The current compensation system is vulnerable to corruption, because some areas pay a low amount and others pay a higher amount for the same place. Previously there were no guidelines to standardize this process, so every regional government would set their own price. After the study is completed we will set a price based on the importance and value of the property,” Bekele said.

Another issue that Bekele says the new office will address is coordinating federal projects, from start to finish. The office will oversee and advise similar regional offices established under it.

Previously, lack of coordination between the major infrastructure developers, namely telecom, electricity and road authorities has caused friction – with each often undoing the others’ work.

They have criticized each other for damage caused when one of the three undertakes new infrastructure projects, dismantling the others’ facilities while working on their projects.

To alleviate this problem the agency will require private or government organizations to get assurance certificates when they engage in expansion projects on federal or new roads.

“Getting one certificate from construction or another authority is not enough to build one building on the line of federal roads.   The companies or organizations should get our approval before they start construction because we are the one who know whether there are new projects so that they are from future infrastructure endeavors,” he said.