31 January 2012 Written by  Aberham Yohannes and Desta G/michael

Classification of Administrative Agencies

Agencies are created with varying size, structure, functions and powers. Some of them may be established with broader powers; in charge of regulating a certain sector of the economy. This is typically the case with ministries, which are headed by a high-level government minister. Ministries not only enforce a government program or policy, but they also supervise and overview other lower agencies that are accountable to them. Others are comparatively   small in structure and are charged with a very specific task of implementing a certain portion of government policy or programme. With the exception of few, almost all agencies  are under  the direct control and supervision, in their day to today implementation of government task law, or policy assigned to them by the enabling act. The remaining very small agencies function independently outside the direct control of   the executive branch and they are accountable to the legislature. Agencies are classified or categorized based on such mode  of accountability.

Accordingly, those agencies directly accountable to the executive branch are known as executive agencies, where those accountable to parliament are called independent agencies. In Ethiopia, executive agencies are usually accountable to a certain ministry, or council of ministries, or the prime minister. Even though the enabling act may subject an agency to the control of another ministry, it    has also to be noted   that they   are ultimately accountable to either the council of ministers, or to the prime minister. This is true because the F.D.R.E constitution    grants the highest executive authority to the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers (Article 72 sub 1 of F.D.R.E constitution). This fact can also be inferred from the cumulative reading of Articles 74(2) and 77(3) which   similarly confer the power of ensuring the implementation of laws, regulations, directives and decisions of the house of people’s representatives. Such powers mainly include the power to follow up and supervise the activities, functions and exercise of power of specific administrative agencies. Besides, even though an agency is made accountable to a certain ministry or another,   superior agency or   authority of the ministry is directly   accountable to the   Prime Minister,   or the     Council of Ministers.

The executive impacts the work of agencies in so many ways. The Prime minister may freely appoint the head of an agency, and dismiss him at any time even without valid reasons. However, the appointment of ministers and other commissioners is subject the approval of the house of people’s representatives. An executive agency has also a duty to submit report of its activities to the higher executive organ. The budget to be allocated to a certain executive   agency is also greatly determined and influenced by the decision of the executive branch. Even though the budget has to be prepared and be   submitted to the house of people’s representatives for approval, most of the time the demand of the executive is affirmatively accepted by the house.

Can you mention at least two executive agencies having the name of a ministry, authority, agency and commission?

It has been said that independent agencies, are accountable to parliament, i.e. to  the house of people’s representatives. The establishment of these agencies, even though they need the act of the house of people’s representatives for their material and legal existence, their is predetermined by the constitution. This implies that their creation is not dependent on the will of the parliament. Normally, the parliament retains exclusive right to bring a certain executive agency into existence, which includes the power to modify, increase, or decrease the power and function   of that    agency. By the same token it is up to the parliament to terminate that agency. However, this is not the case with independent agencies. The constitution clearly imposes a duty to establish independent agencies indicated in the constitution. There are time agencies falling under this category are listed below.

  • The Federal Ombudsman
  • The Human Right Commission
  • The National Election Board
  • The Auditor General
  • The Population and Census Commission

With respect to these agencies parliament has the right to appoint heads. and remove them if there are valid reasons.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 13:05