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A Delegation Of Asian Business‎ Men Arrive In Hargeysa‎‎‎‎ ‎‎

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By Somalilandtimes network

The delegation entourage at Hargeysa international airport

Last Sunday on 12 Feb 2006, a delegation of mainly Asian business men based in the Gulf States of Emirates, Sri-Lanka and Singapore arrived on board a private plane at Hargeysa Egal International Airport from Dubai for a three day business consultation and meetings with the Somaliland government. The delegation, according to the government is seeking to invest in a number of business projects in the port city of Berbera. According to the government of Somaliland, President Dahir Kahin Riyale discussed with Mr Gamini Herman of ‘Peace Shipping Lines’ based in Dubai back in April 2004, when he came to Hargeysa for a short visit.

The delegation consists of a consortium of five international companies led by Mr Gamini Herman who is head of “Peace Shipping Lines” based in Emirates and ETA Group (Dubai), Portek International (Singapore), Mammoth Building Systems (U.A.E) and Man B & W (Germany) and are looking to invest in a number of public key sector installations in the Sahil coastal region of Berbera.

The delegation entourage, consisting of seventeen persons who have come as far from Singapore, Sri-Lanka, Emirates and Germany were met at Hargeysa airport VIP lounge by the minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Noah Sh. Musa and by the Interior minister, Mr Ismail Adan Osman. A large convey of government four wheel drive vehicles and two Special Unit Police vehicles escorted the delegation to Mansuur Hotel in Hargeysa, the hotel they will be staying for their three day visit.

The delegation on their first day spent three hours with the President and other government officials and made a presentation outlining on how they plan to combine their resources and capital investment in refurbishing the Berbera port, Berbera airport, Berbera cement plant and building a desalination and refinery plant at Berbera and develop a Free Market Zone facilities and infrastructure for the manufacture of goods intended for foreign export markets.

On the second day, the delegation prepared to tour with high ranking government officials the port of Berbera and its facilities, the large and now defunct cement plant on the outskirts of Berbera built in the early 80’s by the Said Barre government and Berbera International airport. The delegation made a courtesy call on the Vice President, Mr Ahmed Yusuf Yasin who had prepared a small reception for the delegation at Berbera presidential guest house. The vice president welcomed the delegation to Berbera and in general to Somaliland and thanked the delegation for their visit to Somaliland.

The vice president, Yusuf Ahmed Yasin told the delegation that ‘Somaliland holds a window of opportunity to foreign businesses willing to invest in the country’s natural resources and said that “the port of Berbera is the corridor to the Horn of Africa, and if you (the delegation) are serious in developing the port and other key Berbera installations will hold and turn the key to the Horn of Africa’. The vice president concluded, by saying that ‘his government will welcome any foreign company seeking to invest in his country with open arms.

On their departure, the visiting business delegation held a press conference for the local Somaliland media in VIP lounge at Hargeysa Egal international airport. The delegation spokesman, Mr N H Shaheid who is also the legal advisor and lawyer for the delegation was asked ‘what will be the first priority in your proposed business plan project?’ To which Mr N H Shaheid answered ‘that the first priority is to establish a power plant in Berbera, and without this power plant it will be impossible to realise our proposed business projects’.

Another question was put to the delegation spokesman and was asked, ‘Can you tell us the names of the companies involved in this project and the countries in which they are legally registered?’ Mr N H Shaheid, declined to answer this question and said ’I cannot provide you this information at the moment because I do not have the list where I wrote the names of the companies and I don’t have them at the top of my head’: Mr Shaheid continued and said, ‘Anyhow, it is up to the Somaliland media to find this information, since you have in advance prepared your questions on a piece of paper, you should in turn have searched for this information’.

Mr Shaheid was asked, ‘Are you (delegation), the financiers for this business investment or simply, middlemen planning to sell this idea to overseas invest mentors?’ Mr Shaheid replied, ‘This is a difficult question to answer because, this is not our first time to come to Somaliland, we were here last year and had a series of meetings with the various Somaliland ministries and had clearly made known to the government of Somaliland what our intentions and scope or investment plans were at the time.’

Mr Shaheid was asked, ‘What is the time factor regarding the completion of this investment project?’ Mr Shaheid replied in short that, ‘Some projects will be very short in construction duration and others will take a couple of years to complete’.

The delegation were accompanied to Hargeysa Egal International airport by the minister of Finance, Mr Awil Ali Duale and the minister of Commerce & Industry, Mr Noah Sheekh Musa and the Interior minister, Mr Ismail Adan Osman. All ministers declined to be interviewed by the media and said that they will give a press conference regarding the visit of the delegation and investment they plan to carryout in Somaliland.

Source: Somaliland Times (18 Feb. 2006)

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