By: Yusuf M Hasan
BERBERA (Somaliland sun) – The DP World contract to manage and develop the Port of Berbera shall not affect the status of current employees.
This was informed by the government during a meeting with Port Workers in Berbera where tension has been growing of late over the continued employment of the over 800 workers once DP World starts to implement its contractual obligations.
The meeting between the port workers and a government team composed of the presidency, foreign affairs and finance ministers Mahmud Abdicate Hashi, Dr Saad Ali Shire and Zamzam Abdi Aden comes in the heels of the cabinet approval to the DP World contract entered upon by the governments of Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates in May 2016.
“The contract which obligates DP World an Emirati owned firm with global operations to manage the to infuse $422 during 30 years of managing an developing the main Somaliland port contains a clause specific to retention of all current employees as part of the projected increase to 3000” said a statement released by the ministerial team in Berbera.
In a post meeting statement by the presidential spokesperson the ministerial delegation is reported to have told the port workers
“We hereby take this opportunity to assure all workers of the Berbera port that non shall lose their jobs as a result of the DP world contract”
“This administration, is yours, and not an enemy that has invaded the country with the purpose of undermining citizens, through clan divisions or other means, but one fighting hard to improve livelihoods nationwide”
“Having entered conducive understanding we are hopeful that you are satisfied with your status now and in the future as employees of Berbera port and that divisive elements shall no longer direct your thoughts”
While the development of the Berbera port is of national importance and enticement of a major foreign firm investing in the country, yet to be recognized internationally, is a diplomatic coup, the DP World contract has continued to raise eyebrows among a section of the citizenry notable the dominant clan in Sahil region who claim ownership of the port.
To counter this, the presidency ministry gave a detailed breakdown of the process leading to the selection of DP world over 7 other contending firms notably Bollore African Logisitcs, a French firm initially thought to be favoured.
In his pitch to the council of cabinet prior to unanimous vote of approval, the presidency minister who was at pains justifying DPW selection, said “The port of Berbera is public property run by the government of behalf of its owners,citizens of Somaliland”
Minister Abdi Hashi added that “contrary to insinuations by some anti-development and tribalism elements in our midst the port has not been sold but only rented to the Emirati company thus the Berbera port still remains a public property