Published On: Sat, Mar 24th, 2012

We Need an Independent Commission for the Sahel Cement Dispute

OPINION | March 23, 2012
By:Ali Mohamed
This week, the Dahabshil Group spearheaded the first investor’s meeting of the new Sahel Cement Factory, which took place at Mansoor Hotel in Hargeysa. Several people spoke at the gathering including the founder/owner of Dahabshil group, Mr. Mohamed Said Duale, whom I thought would use the gathering , to tell Somaliland public their side of the story regarding the dispute between Dahashil Group and the Sahel communities about new Sahel Cement Plant in Berbera. However, he failed to deliver a convincing argument why the Dahabshil Group got the permit to build the cement in the first place.

From the speech of the founder of Dahabshil group, Mr. Duale, I was able to glean the following relevant information:
· The builders of Sahel Cement Plant have no idea where the plant will be constructed. Instead, they are asking Silanyo administration to provide them the land, while disregarding or bypassing Berbera municipal authority, which has jurisdiction over the zoning laws in that area. The Dahabshil Group also do not have the mining permit required to exploit the raw materials—limestone quarry, the minerals (Silicon, Iron and Aluminum), and Gypsum that are essential for making the cement. Again, the Dahabshil group is asking the current Somaliland administration for a mining permit, without the consent of Sahel communities, since the mining could affect the environment, and ground water systems in Sahel region.

Furthermore, I was not convinced that Dahabshil Group have succeeded presenting a detailed plan of the project such as : the cost of the plant, its capacity, when the construction of the plant would start? How long it will take to complete the plant? How much of his own equity, he is willing to invest for the plant? What is the environmental impact of the new plant, after it is commissioned? Does the Dahabshil Group have a contingency plan in case of environmental disasters?

It is obvious; that Dahabshil group got a permit that was issued on a process that was not transparent. Instead, the Dahabshil group following proper vetting for the permit; the Group used their access to key cabinet ministers of Silanyo administration, who used to be former employees of Dahabshil Group.

As we know, Dahabshil Group also contributed financially during Silanyo’s bid for the presidency, and they are free to support any candidates they wish; however, we know that in politics nobody does something for nothing. It seems quid pro quo, the way the Dahabshil group got the permit.

Dahabshil group arrogantly thought all they need was a permit issued through presidential decree to launch a fundraising for their dream project. Nonetheless, they forget that we live in a fledgling democratic nation—where all-important issues like building a cement plant from scratch— which could affect the environment, and health of thousands of our own citizens, would be debated openly. Because of desperation, Dahabshil waged a misinformation campaign, and demagoguery through the local TV’s, especially Horn Cable TV, to discredit Sahel communities.

The current dispute between Dahabshil Group and the Sahel communities is not about Sahel communities, who are against the investment of a successful Somalilander businessman, for their own region, as some people might suggesting it.

No doubt, building new cement or rehabilitating the old cement factory would create local jobs, boost the economy, increase government revenue, and would help rebuilding of our infrastructure.

Nevertheless, we know that the nature of the cement industry is such that it can cause significant environmental damage through emission. For example, it is a highly energy intensive contributing 6-8% of the total manmade CO2 emission.

I believe Dahabshil group did not do their homework on what it is required to build a cement plant from scratch; and their recent presentation was short on detail. However, if the Dahabshil Group/Sahel Cement Factory come out a more detailed plan— which has feasibility studies, the environmental impact assessment– and has grass roots local support; then the government should entertain them applying a new permit.

Although Silanyo administration already awarded a permit for the Dahabshil group;however, the dispute between of the two groups is back on our President’s desk for further review. But to be fair for all the concerned parties, I think it is unethical for the president or some of his cabinet ministers, who used to be former employees of Dahabshil Group, to make decision on this matter. Instead, our leader should have to appoint an independent commission compromised around 9-11 individuals of experts on energy, mining, financing, investment, and environment, as well as representative from Sahel communities.

The Commission main objective is to draft policies and recommendations for the president, regarding the most equitable way to exploit Somaliland’s abundant natural resource—cement. The commission would explore all options including whether to set up a government owned entity—Somaliland Cement Corporation, its main mission is the development, industrialization, and the marketing of our cement industry. In order for this entity to get the financing, and the technology needed to build new cement plant or to rehabilitate the old cement if it is feasible; the new entity would seek a joint venture from local or international investors.

The independent commission would mediate the dispute between the two competing groups—-the Dahabshil Group, who recently got a permit to build a cement plant, and the Berbera Cement Group, who already had existing permit to rehabilitate the old cement factory, which is structurally in a great shape. The commission would investigate why Silanyo administration issued a permit for Dahabshil group, without first giving a chance Berbera Cement Group to meet their obligation. Finally, the commission would also address whether or not the commercial hub of Somaliland—Berbera, could accommodate two cement plants.

Again, I would to underline that any future cement production in Somaliland would be used for local consumption, because of the high cost transporting of Cement would prohibit profitable distribution over long distance. In addition, export to Ethiopia or south Somalia, would require rail system mode of transportation.

In sum, Somaliland succeeded on slow but efficient process in which our government, communities, and business people have settled their own disputes through consultation and consensus building. It worked for Somaliland for almost two decades.

I strongly believe we are capable as a nation for solving this dispute as well. All we need is a strong leadership. Hopefully, our president would not use a presidential decree in order to render a judgment of this dispute in favor for Dahabshil Group. Because the legitimate health and environmental concerns of Sahel communities is more important than the greed and the profit of a businessman—-who thinks that he is almost running the country. *Allah bless Somaliland*“Long live Somaliland”

Ali MohamedCo-founder, Growth and Development Club of Somaliland
Lewis Center, Ohio

Views expressed in the opinion articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of Somalilandpress editorial.

Displaying 34 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Abdi1234 says:

    This guy is delusional, to proof my point he claims to run and the founder of what he calls: Growth and Development Club of Somaliland from Ohio, USA, I believes that he can develop Somaliland using a clannish article that will obstruct investment in Somaliland.

    Can the author tell us what he has contributed to the development of Somaliland, instead of bashing the democratically elected President, his Minister of Planning and Dahabshiil the 2nd biggest Somaliland employer after the Somaliland government and the highest contributor of money to Somaliland public projects.

    I will respect his point if he is doing more for Somaliland than Dahabshiil, otherwise he needs to eat his words back and hide his ugly face. He is no better than the Berbera hooligans, who tried to extort money from Dahabshiil, but failed miserably. FYI Berbera and Sahil do not belong to your clan only.

  2. Abdi1234 says:

    Correction: he believes not I believe

  3. Asha says:

    Only two words fit the description of your character: "low life" !

  4. Asha says:

    My comment is for Abdi not for Abdi1234, my apology to Abdi1234

    • mohamed cheers says:

      I fully seconded abdi1234. I strongly believe that this matter should not be subjected to clanish
      hooliganism of those who think Berbera Port and Sahil is only for one clan. After careful study of
      the previous clandestine permit holders miserably failed to build the Cement Factory in question
      for lack of funds and expertise, the current Govt in power entrusted Dahabshiil Group Companies
      to be the best National Company to go ahead with this highly important project. I believe Dahabshiil
      has already laid down plans and procedures for a coporation company open policy
      enfranchising shares for all the interested citizens. I believe also, all concerns by the Author would
      be taken care of as Dahabshiil is the leading and most successful Somaliland Company nationally
      and internationally. Therefore, those Govt. officials and the President should not be used as
      clandestine scapegoats and/or laughing stocks. In a nutshell, the Author's ideas tend to bias towards
      tribal mindedness which should be totally disregarded. In my opinion, Dahabshiil should go ahead
      building the Cement Factory Project without farther unnecessary complications.

  5. Daud says:

    Somaliland will go nowhere with this tribalism nonsense. However I agree with the author on one point- that at least the dahabshil group should have succeeded consent from the local communities that live their before they (The dahabshil group) started considering building the cement plant. It was arrogant of them to think because they have financial powers they can do what ever they please. Whether your habar awal, habar jeclo or habar younis should not matter as long as the local community and most importantly benefits.

  6. Isaaq says:

    This is a conflict of interest between the government ( Kulmiye ) and Dahabshill. We remember the Idha-Deero Mahajar ???

  7. Abdi2 says:

    If the real concern as some say is about the environment and public health…I am sure we can meet this. I don't remember any one complaining about any adverse effects directly cost by the old cement factory, so I don't see how this would be any different, especially when the technology has improved immensely. Even if this concern is real, these can be easily safeguarded easily by campaigning peacefully and in civilized manner. However, the attempts by the Sahel community to block this development is without really understanding what is at stake is premature and down right wrong. We should welcome our progress and economic development. Lets not make this a political or tribal issues and move on with this while we have this precious opportunity.

  8. 4west says:

    The author of this article should be fair and not prejudice against the current administration because they might be of different clan. The habar jeclo clan are the current leaders in Somaliland in terms of business and politics. And that did not happen by accident, we work hard to earn our feeds and we support both the local environment and local people.

    The author of this is misguided and completely of the point. We want and an apology otherwise, people will be boycotting your name paper starting with us (4West).

    Finally the people who would benefit the most from this project will be the local people who reside in the area so I for one don’t see the sense in their argument. (Crazy people). I say wake up and smell the coffee because people are talking about joining the whole of Europe together and these crazy nomadic people are separating a friction of a million people. That is Somaliland people for u…..

    • Jambazi says:

      Dhigshil wants to build another cement factory at exact place where old licensees were permitted to build by Rayale administration. And the locals are against dhigshil extra cement factory on many logically acceptable grounds, among them are.
      1. Since, environmentally the area cannot sustain two cement factories, which will be detrimental to the health of the local, the local are saying no to a second factory.
      2. Dhigshil is well established financially he wants to destroy any possible future business competitors, thus he run to his uncle to acquire this second permission while he clearly knew there were a group of business people permitted by the previous administration.
      3. Dhigshil got this licence or permission on questionable grounds or you can call it on nepotism grounds.
      4. Dhigshil want to commission a Chinese company to build his cement factory and the Chinese are well knowned to be very laxed in environmental issues.
      5. And finally, the notion that, the local will benefit from dhigshil factory is a pipe dream, dhigshiil's employees record negates this point, almost 99% of dhiigshiils money transfer employees or agency franchisees are from his clan. I remember one of my friend living in a small town in Sweden applied to be dhigshiils agent, he had fulfilled all the conditions required for agent-ship but still he was refused to be agent, he had a thriving business in that town he even deposited tha down payment required and they refused him to be their agent. And dhigshiil had the gut to send one of his relative to approach my friend to open an agency at my friend's business premiss. And now you have the chutzpah to say the local will benefit.
      To conclude, why is dhigshiil so keen to build a factory in Berbera while along the entire coastal areas of Somaliland are endowed with limestone, a material which is necessary ingredient in cement manufacturing. And this is the problem with Silanyo's headless administration, look, there was a cattle quarantine enclosure in Berbera, but Silanyo went ahead and issued permission for another one to be built by indadeero his relative, Total had constructed and were managing the fuel depot in Berbera, Silanyo terminated the contract with Total and he want to let one of his relative to manage the fuel depot. Recent, the government destroyed business kiosk run by petty traders in Hargeisa, but one kiosk adjacent to old Egyptian library was not destroyed and the administration refused that kiosk to be destroyed, this means, either that kiosk is owned by a relative of silanyo or a relative of one of silanyos cronys. The Egyptian have stop the renovation of the library building unless that kiosk is dismantle, just watch old silanyo will set a commission to advise him about that kiosk but he will never set an independent commission to investigate the Berbera cement debacle.

  9. 4west- says:

    @ Mr Ali Mohamed, u talk about greed and control. Those 2 words are massive man and I believe u don’t even know the true meaning of the 2 words. Pls focus on your small tiny charity based business/club and let the proper businessmen and Politian run the country. Cheers.

  10. osman5 says:

    The author is advocating for what he called Sahel community to revolt against Dahabshil group and in the mean time expelicitly stating that Dahabshil group must not have the rights to construct a new cement factory in Berbera due to primarily they obtained a permit through an insider who possesses an enormous influence on the president's decisions.

    As a result Dadabshil group was granted the permit without due process. He's basically implying they got it though bribery.
    That's a damning allegations not only against the Dahabshil group for business misconduct but also the president for a gross favoritism. However, the author failed to provide any evidence to support his allegations besides the heresay presidential campaign contributions by Dahabshil.

    That alone clearly gave away the author isn't being neutral or possibly has self motivated agenda in the matter.
    In this day and age, if something seemed not quite right and you're interested in you ought to seek commonalities, trends and ultimately evidences to lead you the right directions of the suspect or suspects, but reporting rumors publicly is absurd for a lack of better terms.

    Additionally, In my world we teach our kids before they're even finished the grade school not to accuse anyone unless you can prove it beyond reasonable doubt, if you do so, there'll be a course of action, to enforce the idea that says you'd usually be in a better position if follow your mind rather than your heart.

    Frankly, I'd advise the author to attend for a several ethics sessions and stop reporting a total rubbish. Obviously it's unethical, to say the least, to promote a matter in public for your own self enrichment,

    Osman Qaal

  11. dumar says:

    Again, are you ok Mr. mohamed cheers + Mrs. Asha today? …Lost credibility once more

    We know that deductive falsification refers to: The act of disproving a proposition and hypothesis theories. Correct your real name, so that the people can address you well first.

    Secodly, just yesterday you said, you 're dead supporter of Bashir Goth for his Somaliwyeen's ideologies and today talking about Dhabshiil's businesses profitability objectives like others of opportunistic Rothenberg Political and Clannish Reporter.

    In order we can take your commenting words be Somaliland independance believer first or Don't waste the time of the others and go where you belong to.

  12. Dahir says:

    Somaliland is country and as such it's citizens are free to live, work and invest in all of Somaliland. if we have to take permission to move around and do business in our own country then what good is Somaliland.
    What is this business asking local clans for permission? Shame!!!

    • Jambazi says:

      Not in my back yard (NIMBY). Even in the developed world people called NIMBY's will not accept the place inhabit to be poisoned, environmentally destroyed and their health adversely affected while one unscrupulous greedy business man want to take undue advantage to further loot natural resources while the local inhabitant are impoverished and their health destroyed.

      Without permission from local people dhigshill and the government will lose big time if they decide to use force then they will meet force like the baraago's of kaashaale were ultimately destroyed when the local people refused and fought back. The government could not force the people of kaashaale to accept those baaraago. So dhigsshiil and his uncle are forced to accept the people of saxeel what they want or what they don't want, otherwise blood will be spilt in Somaliland and Somaliland it will the end of Somaliland. So silanyo has to choose between somaliland and dhigshiil.

  13. dumar says:

    For the last Weeks, we 're witnessing wildely and virally spread out media in every space regarding public prosecution againest the Governement for committing awlawful practicies and violations of the constitution

    Why? These spread out accusations againest the Govenment for clannish, nepotism, misappropriations of public funds and hiring incompetent and favorited ministries to caring and providing them opportunities. While firing the highly competent and historically varified honest ministers whom most of them resisted Dhabshiil's business interference for the public interest and who were caring how to improve the life of Somaliland normal citizens and orphan childern.

    Before we "mainly outsiders" whether they try to get remedial answers and solutions for the above causes. It's proven that NO BODY can stand to stop such massive media waves againest the current government untill the governement itself takes a drastical behaviorial changes immediately.

    Otherwise, these will lead a damaging consequences among the communities themselves and institutions existence and that's exactly the big chances for many Somalliand enmies Sought for longer time, especially in this criticall timming after London Conference.

    These acts entered the whole nation in rampageous and confused mode with great anxieties feelings of aversion in regard to Intra- State insecurity whether the natives are government opponents or exponents due to increasingly imbalance of injustice practices and renewal of corruption smoking signs in accelerating speeds.

  14. Madar says:

    The problem solely lies with this frankly incompetent government that have put through the poor people of Sahel hell these last couple of months through their blatant disregard of democratic values that the people hold so dear. This government as i have said before is run by a certain corporate entity which for various reasons i wish not to name, but who are determined to take advantage of the “their” time. The problem is they are making a mess of how to use their “man” in office to their advantage because they frankly are lacking in political tact and intelligence. In politics to achieve your objectives, which are not popular, never enter the house from the front door but rather from the back.

  15. dumar says:

    Again cold down Mohammed

    You it well that there's no personal drifting here rather than serious national issues principles and discussions.

  16. AbdiD says:

    Something doesn't smell right about this president

    • osman says:

      I think you should stick to your NGO, frankly your article is nothing short of naked tribalism covered in misleading environmental regard. You don't give a hoots about the environment or the community who live in Sahel region. The so called founders are penniless thugs who want to make money of the ill gotten old license by the Riyale regime. If they are legit investors why can they build something for the the last five years. This country is not a monopoly for any clan, but any open to any Somalilander who want to invest. Instead of writing poisnous and bias articles the Dahabshiil group will accept and investor who want to buy a share in the cement factory.

  17. mhassan says:

    My Folks

    Realistically, I noticed that we have and had in SLPress world-class think-thank persons and cyber media information technology geeks, some are actively engaging and some not seen them a month. I met some of them in battle fields of Foreign & Commonwealth Office -Websites and Blogs for London Coference on Somalia.

    Believe it or not. They fire exingushed on the whole daily traffic from Somalia which estimated 50,000 a day, with tons of multi-media information such as articles, comments, videos,and other reference of somaliland histories contents like running machines in moment before others to think, without hard working efforts because they know how to utilize their media technologies tools and convert ideas into news. I know some them personally, they get their huge livings from information technology media and onlines businesses and living independent financially freedom. No need to seek government posts but they fiercely defeat Somaliland interests in international media challenging areas. Now, they will defeat the country from the internal treats and will shoot on the feet the clannish and corruptions motivated individuals and embarrassing them with facts and figures easily.

    I think, you will see by your selves in coming days, no body can challenge them in media thunders Roaring cultural edge of the 1920s for information manipulation variables, even the commercial and industry laws interpretations.

  18. Naliye says:

    what does Growth and Development Club of Somaliland, and the first cement factory built in 2003 have in common ? :o

    they both don't exist o.0

    by the way Ali Mohamed why do you have an AOL email its 2012 not 1992 -don't worry I dont think anyone else noticed it-,

  19. mohamed cheers says:

    I Just wonder why Dumar, Madar and many others are so mad about Hirsi the top Icon
    after president Silaanyo? Also why so mad about the successful top SLD business Dahabshiil?
    Uptill now personally I have not come across any wrong doing of these two except that they
    belong to the most resilient HJ Xabuusho at any cost come what may as a whole the Somaliland euphoria Complexities. Hirsi has come a long way upstream and may surprise his most enemies becoming the President of Somaliland then what?

  20. law says:

    i am really shocked by the level of stupidity in this author's article, well to be fair to this creature i was almost fooled by his environmental concern gag, and all of sudden he let it rip at both ends at once on a pure vile un diluted brown staff of tribalism what a real gem he is?

  21. yasin says:

    "maamulka s,lanyo waxaan u haystaa in debecsanaan ka muuqato,, musuqmaasuq inuu ka muuqdo,, aragti aan balaadhnayn ay ka muuqato,, eex iyo qabiil ay ka muuqato" Dr. Gaboose

  22. dumar says:

    Though I never mentioned his name in here neither know him. Rest of 90 % are complaining about Hersi.
    The other paragraph is sneaky way to say some thing …ok . Problem is how to prove your self, if you 're belonging to us, as Allemagan and Goth mixed your cards miserably.

    Have you seen the new Article titled : Lessons Learned From the Pareto 80–20 Rule Principle

  23. misslovely says:

    lets be fair here sida lasheegay reer saaxil ma diidana in dahabshiil maal gashado gobolka saaxil laakiin waxay diidanyiin in laba wershadood oo labaduba sibidhka soo saaraan laga sameeyo magalada berbera taasina waa gar run ahaantii sababtoo ah madaama dalkeenu anuu saa u waynay waershadna aynu haysano u gaara sibidhka maxaa udiiday dahabshiil iyo taajirada kele ee reer somaliland inay sameeyaan wershado kele sidaynu wada ognahay dadka somaalidu waxay aad u isticimaan sankorta haday sameeyaan ganacsatadu wershad u gaar ah sankortana dalkana hormar bay u noqon lahayd dadkuna shaqay heli lahayeen dahabshiilna wuu taajiri lahaa ka reer togdheer ahaana sifiican baanu usoodhoynaynaa waxii maalgashi wada

  24. misslovely says:

    mohamed dheere inadeer reerku waa h/j wax ilma xabuush layidhahdaa majiraan inkastoo ay kaba macaanaan lahayd iydoo shiikhii inadhalay laga raaco

    • mohamed cheers says:

      Misslovely darling, H/J is equal to HY, Habush is equal to garhajis/Arap/Ayoub, Awal is singular
      A/Rahman. How come four brothers of Habush are all H/J when four brothers of Magaado are
      independently split and operate loosely to get away with high stakes in Cabinet/other Govt. powers!.
      when H/j is always a simple singular. Ofcourse Awal is like Your H/J Singular unlike the Maagado
      wolves, but ofcourse the Awal's are much smarter and know how to sustain power sharing treads!

  25. gani says:

    if the people of the region don't want a cement factory so be it, those who want one will have just stay put , and shut up, and build one in their own back yard.

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