By M.A. Egge
The motion on the privatization of Berbera port about investiture by the Dubai Ports World (DPWORLD) was tabled in the parliament yesterday as promised by the Head of State.
The government made a strong presentation to the legislative assembly showing both causes as to why the port direly needed a dose in the arm and why the state settled for the DP World.
The government which tabled the preliminary agreement showed a spirited effort with the duo ministers of the Presidency and the foreign affairs making the front.
While Hon. Mohamud Hashi Abdi patriotically and passionately urged the parliamentarians to recommend and approve the investing in the capacity building and development initiatives the government is expecting to make with DP World’s partnership, his counterpart Hon. Sa’ad Ali Shire hammered home points for the need of the project for the state coffer.
The Presidency minister said that it was imperative that legal procedures and laid down regulations be adhered to hence such indulging of high magnitude ought to be presented to the parliament.
He reminded the members of the house that it was incumbent upon them to vouch for either the merits or demerits of the agreement as per obligation.
“It is for the need of open transparency and accountability that the agreement has been tabled in the house”, he said, adding that “since to dispose off the port without due legislative procedure is tantamount to treachery”.
He passionately appealed to the members to patriotically do the necessary and deal with the matter need-fully.
The minister explained that the agreement being tabled for perusal and understanding was only a preliminary one.
For the country to adopt it and upgrade the port as per the agreement depended on the house, he explained.
“If you endorse it then we will adopt it and go forward but if you reject it then the matter will rest there”, said the minister emphatically.
He however substantiated the fact that the agreement which is based on three phases will entail the building and constructing of a whole new 400 meters long docking harbor. He said that a further 525 yards extension is also slated and a total rehabilitation and reconstruction of the present one is also on the table.
On the other hand his foreign affairs colleague Hon. Sa’ad Ali Shire explained that the pros of the need of the upgrading the port far much outweighed the present cons prevalent.
For instance he pointed out that:-
- As per a German consultant engineer the need for the reconstruction and rehabilitation was indispensable hence the present port needed a 15m USD facelift.
- The port used to be a leading harbor but has now dwindled, given that whereby it handles less than 800 medium ships and dhows per annum with 26,000 containers or so, its Djibouti neighbor handles nearly 2000 large ships with almost a million containers handled.
- SL population has, since the port was last modernized, doubled in a quarter of a century.
- The Berbera port was constructed to handle baggages and not container that is why it has no crane winches of her own -it uses those of the ships!
- The meters needed in fathom to handle large ships warrants for a new docking port.
- As a state coffer, the viability of the port needs to be revitalized to cater for neighboring countries.
- Ironically, the assumed hundreds of millions of USD (600) of commercial trade exchanges between SL and Ethiopia is 100% biased in favour of the neighbor.
He also gave reasons as to why the state opted for the DP world out of 7 other choices.
The President had recently announced that the agreement would be taken for the parliament for approval. The parliament which was chaired by the Speaker Hon A.M. Abdillahi and assisted by his both deputies was almost full-house.
The debate on the motion is expected to go on in the next few days.