By Dawit Endeshaw Fortune Staff Writer
Owners are now allowed to renew license without meeting the standards
Addis Abeba City Transport Bureau (AACTB) has given the green light for traders engaged in garage work to renew their license without complying to fulfill standards set by Federal Transport Authority (FTA), as the deadline for renewal of trading licenses is only left with one week.
The standards were prepared in 2012 with main objective of modernizing the way vehicles repairing, maintenance and troubleshooting had been undertaken and to minimize the loss of life and property caused by poor maintenance of vehicles, that implied under qualified service. The document had 27 basic standards; and they are categorized into three main subdivisions.
These subdivisions are human resources, tools and working area; the garages would be rated based on how much they qualified in each of the three categories. For instance, according to the standard, level one repair and maintenance garages should have a working area of 250sqm, with offices, restrooms, space for workers and a standing area for vehicles in accordance with the specification; human resource with academic competence, ranging from Diploma to 12+3 in either auto-mechanics or auto-electricity and a certificate of competence (COC) in addition to 20 types of working tools.
And it was this kind of precondition that was the centre of controversy among 1,060 garages in Addis Abeba for the past couple of months. It was mainly criticized for its unrealistic presence, by many in the sector arguing that it is out of context, as most of the garage workers adopt the skill through practise and experience.
“Given the fact that most of us operate the business activity within rented houses, it is difficult for any of us to get land,” said Meles Zerabiruck, head of the Arada district garage owner’s association and member of the board at Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce Sectoral Association.
For the past three months the association was in discussion with the Bureau with the aim to give more time for those engaged in the sector till they upgrade themselves in terms of capacity and solving some of their limitation such as access to land.
“After analyzing all this limitation we let them to renew their license,” said Wegayehu Assefa, transport operation head at AATB.
Owners of garages only can renew their license from Addis Abeba Trade and Industry Bureau if and only if AACTB as a body responsible for standardization gave the permission.
The problem of access to land by garage owners need the involvement of other stakeholders so we give them time to solve it, added Wegayehu.
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