Administration may take drastic step to step up services: Dr Melkamu

For Vice President, Dr Melkamu Mada, heading administration is like trudging through a muddle of tough operational issues encircling entire system; it may not be an uphill task, but one has to step forward with a great caution and that’s what we are doing in Arba Minch University, he said.

Hinting at taking unconventional approach to tackle issues such as students’ service, he said, it may be at nascent stage, but to tackle complexity involved in feeding students, AMU will take crucial decision. We spend ETB 108 Million alone on food, whereas government just gives 15 Birr per day for a student, but we provide them wholesome food including meat thrice a week; it’s a vexed issue, he reiterated.

He informed, that this year’s annual outlay is ETB 900,009,080 and Capital budget ETB 330 Million compared to last year fiscal of 1 Billion; due to financial constraint it has been whittled down. This time, its tight-rope walk for 1st Generation universities as all are told to apply restrain and big-ticket projects’ construction are stalled only ongoing works may be completed.

Of current outlay, lion's share ETB 594 Million goes to teaching-learning with 5% of increment compared to last year. Administration gets ETB 250 Million; research ETB 24 Million and Community Service could garner 34 Million. Expressing displeasure, he said, we have huge backlog of problem for we have to cater to the increasing needs of five campuses for different infrastructures to facilitate teaching-learning and students’ services; for this, we are urging government for additional funding.

Spelling out top priority, he said, at the moment, implementation of Job Evaluation and Grading tops our agenda that might bring some changes as it necessitates appropriate equal-pay-for-equal-work for a qualified individual. Secondly, we want to sustain peaceful environment for teaching-learning by stepping up students’ services.

About administrative budget, he said, we will address issues collectively from across university campuses including directorates, procurement, general services and maintenance, etc. At this juncture, when money is hard to come by, we are treading cautiously because very often budget doesn’t get translated into actual cash and liquid money during preparation phase; in such cases, we have to adjust to the situation.

Buttressing points further, he adds, this year, government has allocated ETB 16 Million for maintenance, but in the 1st Quarter itself, we have consumed almost equivalent to that because, we have fleet of old cars and equipment to be maintained, but, government discourages high budget for maintenance for it gives room for corruption, he emphasized.

And let me tell you, to address increasingly potential areas like Human Resource Management, Finance, General Service, Security, Property Administration, Procurement and Students’ Service, we have to work round-the-clock. He also talked about shifting of some of the offices close to administrative building.

On yesteryear’s challenges, he said, at AMU working with top officials, I have learnt a lot, now I know how to tackle unforeseen crisis. He said that top officials are spending much time on students’ issues than strategic ones. To resolve the problems, AMU has started outsourcing some activities such as supplying Enjera in Chamo, Nechsar and Kulfo campuses, this year Abaya Campus will follow the suit. But, in the future government is planning to outsource entire services, wherein students will simply come to study.

Adding further, he said, I have seven directorates to take care and for me everything pertaining to them is significant. But, this time round our motto is to utilize available resources (financial, material and human) efficiently. Hereafter, we vow to audit what is being paid for and what output is received in principle in all sectors.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)