Governor of Hadramout, Mr. Saleh Obad Al-Khawlani to YT: “The industrial sector has been most promising in attracting investment.” [Archives:2000/22/Interview]

May 29 2000

Saleh Mohammed Al-Basha
Yemen Times
 Hadramout is considered the largest governorate in the country. It occupies about 30% of the total area of Yemen. It consists of two main parts. The first part is located on the Arab Sea coast. The second part is extended to the Empty Quarter desert.
Hadramout is full of natural scenery, oil, fish, tourism potential and agricultural resources. These resources are the main contributors to the economy in the governorate. Oil production in Hadramout is more than 250 barrels a day. There are a lot of national and foreign oil companies engaged in drilling. Furthermore, Hadramout has many beautiful and charming landmarks.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Reunification of Yemen, Yemen Times met Mr. Saleh Obad Al-Khawlani, governor of Hadramout to know more about the new achievements and projects in the Governorate during the first decade:
Q: As it is known, Hadramout forms 30% of the total land area of Yemen. There have been demands to divide the governorate into two governorates. Has this demand been withdrawn?
A: In fact the government has done a lot to put an end to such agitations. Hadramout valley has given all the minimum facilities to its people. The governorate offices and corporations also enjoy a lot of autonomy.
Regarding division, I think that there is a committee in Sana’a which is looking into different aspects of this issue. The decision regarding division is in the hands of the political leadership.
Q: What are the projects initiated and completed in the governorate during the first decade of the Unity?
A: The governorate has mounted some major projects. Some of these projects are Mukala water project, Tareem water project, and Al-Rayan with a generation capacity of 40 MW of the power. The last project is being implemented through the cooperation of the Dutch government. 40% of the expenses of the project is borne by the Yemeni government and 60% by the Dutch government. In Hadramout valley a new project for generation of electricity will be launched during the celebrations of the Unification day. There are a lot of generators proposed to be installed in the rural areas.
Regarding the Mukala Pure Water Project, it is being implemented at a cost of $28 million. It is mounted by the collaboration of the World Bank, Arabic Fund and the government. In addition to this, there are projects (in the rural areas) which are being implemented like Assadadah project in Hajer district and Raidah in Ghail Bin Yameen. These projects involving $20 million were donated by the Japanese government. The Tareem project was completed last year at a cost of $16 million. It was a joint venture by the World Bank and the Yemen government.
In the field of telecommunication, Hadramout is supposed to be the most leading governorate. As far as education is concerned, tens of primary and high schools have been built in the city. An amount of YR 2 billion was spent in implementing the educational projects. These include buildings for the University of Hadramout. During the four years of its establishment, it has nine constituent colleges. An agreement has been signed with the Islamic Bank for a loan to build the Engineering Faculty. In the field of tourism, there are over 90 tourist establishments. One of them is Holiday Inn, which will be inaugurated in the near future. Regarding fish eries, many projects have been implemented for the welfare of fishermen. These projects cost about $12 million. They were donated by the European Union. With the collaboration of the French government Kwaizi Tuna Factory will be modernized and expanded.
In the field of transportation, there are a number of projects including Mukala- Saewoon, Saewoon- Tareem, Saffer- Hadramout, Al-Mashhad- Daw’an highways. So, the governorate has witnessed remarkable development and improvement in all fields.
Q: In the field of oil production, what are the companies that have started exporting oil, and what is the volume of oil production recently. How many companies are working in the governorate in the field of oil and minerals drilling?
A: The companies that have started exporting oil are Canadian Oxy and Total. Canadian Oxy started exporting in 1993. It produces around 230 thousand barrels a day. The Total company started exporting last year. It produces between 25- 28 thousand barrels a day.
There are ten oil companies from America, Canada, Hungary, China, Indonesia and Norway engaged in drilling in the different areas of the governorate. In the field of minerals, the achievement is not so significant. Two companies applied for the grant of license to drill minerals, but later on withdrew their plans.
Q: How do you evaluate the quantum of investment in the governorate. It seems that all investments are concentrated on lands. In your point of view, what are the most fruitful areas for investments?
A: In fact, the industrial sector has been most promising in attracting investment. Haiel Saeed Companies, Al-Mihdar companies and other investors have floated a number of industrial projects. Those projects involve manufactures of lubricants, food and rubber industries. In addition, there are two factories for processing tuna and sardine which will be inaugurated in next September. The total volume of investment is between $9- 10 million.
I think that all the projects in this sector are fruitful. Every investor has to prepare feasibility study for his projects. But I hope that the general investment authority should prepare a comprehensive study for the prospective agencies investors like other world investment.
Q: What is the activity of the opposition parties?
A: Well, I think having the opposition is a normal phenomenon in the context of political pluralism in our country. So, this phenomenon is not peculiar to Hadramout alone, but is spread all over the Yemeni political arena. We have to accept opposition because it is the other face of the democracy. Without opposition, there is no meaning of political pluralism. We are not worried about the activities of the opposition in Hadramout. As a matter of fact we work to expand its activities as per the provision of the constitution. The Opposition has the constitutional right to criticize the government or the economic and administrative policies of the authorities.
Q: Your decision concerning returning nationalized buildings to their owners and to give suitable compensation was appreciated by people in Hadramout. However, some of the baseless propaganda relating to this decision disturbed many people. Do you have any new way to solve these problems?
A: I think this decision did not affect any one adversely. According to the constitution, owners should be given their right. We decided to compensate the affected people to avoid more social problems and succeeded to a large extent. There were many people who got some compensation.
I do not have any problems or complains from the side of the beneficiaries, except only some minor problems. We try to give beneficiaries more time to allay complications.
Q: Any last word?
A: I present my congratulations to president Ali Abdullah Saleh on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the unity. I also thank Yemen Times for doing this interview. I wish all success for your newspaper.