Saturday, July 13, 2024

ECA’s new pioneering directive awaiting ratification


Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA), a key leader on the liberalization of the telecom operation has disclosed that it is drafting several directives to ratify under proclamation to provide for federal administrative procedure 1183/2020 that enforce federal offices to get approval from Federal Attorney General to issue any directive.
Balcha Reba, Director General of ECA, said that his authority might be a pioneer in applying the federal administrative procedure proclamation to issue directives on the way to opening up the telecom industry for additional operators.
The proclamation on its preamble indicated that the proclamation is required to regulate Administrative Agencies to refrain their intervention against the peoples’ rights and Interest. This is necessary as it guarantees administrative justice by promoting a culture of transparency and accountability through legally establishing a system of judicial review for persons who might be aggrieved by acts of administrative agencies, in their rule-making and decision-making capacities.
The proclamation obliged the government offices to follow different process before enforcing any directive. It states that at the time of adopting a directive, an administrative agency shall keep a record/file containing the subject matter of the directive considering the timeline of major steps such as; an information regarding the status of the draft directive in the process of adoption, notices published in relation to the adoption of the draft directive, a period of time with in which the public may comment on the draft, comments received and positions taken regarding the comments.
“Our establishment proclamation by default is obliged to communicate to stakeholders before issuing a directive, while since last October we have been engaged in drafting different directives,” Balcha told Capital.
He said that the recently issued proclamation has also forced the public agencies to follow different procedures unlike the past when they followed a directive issued ECA.
“We believe that we are the pioneers on applying the proclamation. We have been engaged on different consultations and notifications of the draft directives,” Balcha said.
He added that ECA is using its website as an avenue for direct announcements to call for consultations as well as undertaking online discussions. The draft proposals are also posted on the website.
“An administrative agency shall solicit comments from relevant administrative agencies and other stakeholders by sending the draft it publicized,” the federal administrative procedure proclamation explained.
“After the expiry of the date for receiving written comments, the agency shall organize a public forum open for all interested persons and gather inputs,” it added .This is an indicator that the agency shall ensure enough time is allotted for different views to be aired.
According to the proclamation, prior to ratification of a directive, the agency shall send the draft to the Federal Attorney General for a conclusive opinion.
The directive is supposed to finalize a process of reiteration at the attorney office for ratification. “The Attorney General shall publicize to the pubic a filled directive with its explanatory statement and the date of notifying its registration,” the proclamation stated.
National Bank is not duty bound to implement obligations when it enacts directives concerning exchange rates, interest rates and other similar secret issues of the country. The proclamation might not be applied for security and emergency events since going through all the requirements takes time which is a limiting factor during an emergency.
The proclamation may not be applied where the issuance of advance notice may be contrary to Public Interest or when the issuance of notice may undermine the implementation of the directive.
According to the proclamation, an agency may incorporate, by reference in its rules, all or part of directives or code of conduct that has been adopted by another agency/body where these matters fall within its scope of power.
ECA, which is busy on undertaking the process to open additional two service providers with the support of Ministry of Finance, has tabled and discussed on several directives besides developing a regulation that shall be ratified by the Council of Ministers.
Telecommunications Interconnection Directive, Telecommunications Infrastructure and Collocation Directive, SIM Card Registration Directive, Lawful Tariffs Directive and Competition Directive are some of the draft directive that are under consultation.

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