By: Osman A.M
HARGEISA: (Somalilandsun) – Ethiopian cement manufacturing factories under the umbrella of the state owned National Cement Industry are experiencing a market boom in Somaliland with heavy commercial trailers ferrying loads of the commodity creating a traffic jams on roads of major towns in the country while other queuing outside major cement factories.
The Ethiopian cement rated as of good quality has monopolized the Somaliland market as a result of edging off cement produced from other neighboring nations like the Oman cement which was the favorite in the construction industry of the country. This follows a series of deliberations between Ethiopian Government & stakeholders in the cement industry who have positively utilized the Eggaga cement producing hills by establishing 5 industrial plants that culminated in increased in production rate hence exporting the surplus to the neighboring nations of Somaliland & Djibouti.
The Ethiopian cement production rate reached a climax at a time when the local cement industry at Berbera could not kick start producing the construction ingredient following uncalled bickering between the state & local residents after the latter turned down a Government proposal of privatizing the industry. This resulted to loss of consuming locally produced cement with the resultant surplus being exported to neighboring nations of the region that subsequently could have narrowed the existing trade imbalance.
The successive regimes that ruled this country could not come up with sound economic policies with respect to rejuvenating Berbera cement industry to operate yet the current regime was elected on a platform of economic reforms but still reluctant to fulfill its pledge due to the existence of conflict of interest from State officials tasked with running the industry.
According to opinion of experts in cement manufacturing it is believed that Berbera cement factory has higher production capacity & a better quality than that produced from Ethiopia & Arab world due to its strategic location to Gulf of Aden that composes the cement with varied sea minerals.
Initially trade in Ethiopian cement was being controlled by Businessmen from Somaliland but of late trade in that merchandize has fully given the mantle to Ethiopian traders who are making a kill in the market to the exclusion of local traders leading to poll of complains being directed in the ministry of trade.
Whereas the Government collects revenue from trade in importing cement, majority of Somalilanders are astonished why can’t they produce their own cement locally at Berbera factory. People are questioning what happened to President Silanyo’s Government given that initial plans to rejuvenate the industry hit a snag does that means that they can’t come up with an alternative one to jump start producing cement locally knowing that the commodity is the backbone of the mushrooming construction currently being witnessed all over the nation.