The locally owned National Flour Mill Company is based in Berbera and has recently come online as the largest flour plant in Somaliland.
The plant’s locally made flour under the Wataniya brand is available in Somaliland markets.
The letter describes the issue as a matter between two private parties – DP World and NFMC and should be resolved directly between them.
Although the Somaliland Chronicle has not seen the Minister’s letter to DP World, the matter seems to center around Geele (porter) fees at Berbera port currently managed by DP World under a thirty-year concession.
DP World reminds the Minister that fairness matters in its operation and that it cannot discriminate between customers by offering unique discounts to any customer and that the National Flour Mill Company should pay the Geele fees like any other customer of Berbera Port.
Continuing on the point of discriminating between customers, the letter states “This is the first time globally, we have received a letter from a Minister ordering special treatment to a private company that will put all other traders in the country at a disadvantage”.
In addition to basic fairness, the DP World letter states that if one customer is allowed to not pay the porters or Geele as known locally, all others will do the same and will result in the loss of nearly 700 jobs.
The letter’s final point reminds the Minister that DP World is currently managing the port under the agreement it signed with the government of Somaliland which stipulated that it has full freedom to change tariffs at the port and increase them on a bi-annual basis and that it cannot simply alter the tariff structure of the port at the request of the government without carrying out a full analysis of all tariffs at the port.
DP World Berbera and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism Hon. Mohamoud Hassan Saad (Saajin) did not respond to inquiries for this report.
This article first appeared in the Somaliland Chronicle and is republished with permission