Mr. Dirhim Noman, Aden Free Zone’s Chairman to YT: “We are fully aware that our project would not be the only one but we are quite certain that we would be at the proper place.” [Archives:2000/21/Interview]
Yemeni unity has constituted a remarkable historic event and a turning-point effecting radical changes inside the Yemeni society at economic, political and social levels. A free economic action began ever since with contribution of the national capital triggering the process of developing the country for a better future.
The southern city port of Aden has got the lion’s share of development, particularly in implementing strategic projects after 27 years of suffering the totalitarian rule. One of the strategic projects in Aden is the Free Zone and rehabilitation of Aden port after years of negligence.
Mr. Dirhim Abdu Noman deputy head of Aden Free Zone and one of the leading figures of 22 May achievements confirmed that work in the containers port has been going on satisfactorily. The studies for finishing of goods and shipment village in Aden International Air Port is also going on. At the same time work on finishing the infra-structure of the industrial and storage area is being carried out. On the 10th anniversary of the unity on May 22 the foundation stone of the project would be laid.
Yemen Times Aden bureau chief Ridhwan Al-Saqqaf interviewed Mr. Dirhim Abdu Numan, filing this report.
Q: The first phase of the industrial zone is supposed to have begun operation for sometime now, although it has not been completed till now.
A: Yes, it was scheduled to be completed along with containers docks as part of the first phase but it has been delayed, but work is now going on for finishing the infrastructure projects which is expected to be accomplished next November.
Q: Is it true that the number of local and foreign companies applications to deal with the Free Zone has reached 428? Have you granted any licenses to these companies? Is there a specific period for these companies to start work inside the free zone?
A: The total number of submitted applications submitted sofar 248 projects. Some licenses have already been granted and work is going on in a good and satisfactory way.
Q: Would you kindly tell us something about how far you have gone regarding preparation of plans and designs for building goods and air freight village?
A: We have signed a contract with the Dutch NACO company on 4 March 2000. By the end of July it is supposed that all works agreed upon would be presented.
Q: Do you think that work in the project is progressing according to the schedule or do you think there is a sort of lagging behind the schedule by the implementing company?
A: Execution of work is proceeding according to the plan except for some delays in the industrial and storage area and we are going to make up for it in a short period.
Q: Jabal Ali Port has recently signed an agreement with Djibouti Port for construction of a Free Zone in Djibouti. To what extent this agreement would affect Aden Free Zone?
A: Initially, I want to congratulate the authority of Jabal Ali Port on signing an agreement with the port of Djibouti, wishing them all success in every activity they embark on in the way of achieving prosperity and development of the free zone in general. When we started implementation of the Free Zone projects in Aden, we were not in aware that we would be alone in the southern Arab peninsula and the African Horn. Our aim was to establish a commercial economic activity qualifying us to perform it in view of our geographic situation and historical status. We wanted to integrate that side by side with many other similar activities. We are fully aware that our project would not be the only one but we are quite certain that we would be at the proper place.
Q: It is planned to establish a free zone and benefit from former docks, of Aden, but you started with building the platform then the industrial area. Can you highlight this point ?
A: Aden Port is regarded as one integral unit. The plan is to benefit from the old docks and the new ones according to the technical role assigned to them according to their specifications.
Q: After the opening of 19th March 1999 project, How do you assess the function of the containers port docks?
A: Work is progressing in the project and this is clearly seen in the chart showing the pace of development and growth.
Q: What are the main obstacles you face in your work?
A: The impediments lie in the shortage of available facilities pertaining be a free zone by the government. This hinders speed of our work according to the general plan for the free zone.
Q: What are the aspects of cooperation between you the Dubai ports Authority and that of Singapore?
A: We have good relations with all ports whether Arab or foreign. Our relations with Jabal Ali enabled us to benefit from its experience and provided us with information, opinions and experience. This kind of cooperation is something that we appreciate and are proud of . The same role is with the Singapore port that enriched us with a lot of experience. In fact, the active role of Singapore can be witnessed in its participation in the management of the international containers area.
Q: As you see, we are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the unification, what remarks do you want to add?
A: Marking the Yemeni 10th National Day gives us a strong impetus and bigger incentive to redouble efforts and work to be worthy of the confidence the President and our people have bestowed on us. All that we have already humbly done we dedicate to the nation on this great occasion.
Yemen’s Unity in the Eyes of the World
Ambassador of Russia
The most important thing about this anniversary is that the unification is fully realized; the united country plays quite an essential role in the developments of the region and I think this role will be strengthened in the near future.
Ambassador of Germany,
Dr. Werner Zimprich
Unlike Germany – where there was and adhesion of the GDR to the Federal Republic of Germany, the unification of Yemen led to a new state: new name, new flag and new constitution.
I am impressed by the progress in the uniting Yemen in political, cultural and economic respect.
Ambassador of Indonesia,
The government and people of the Republic of Indonesia, as stated in the Indonesian President’s congratulations message to the President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, praise the achievement of the Yemen’s national development during the unification period.
We hope that the 10th anniversary of the unification of the Republic of Yemen will strengthen the relationship among our two brother countries, Indonesia and Yemen.
Ambassador of China,
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the unification of the Republic of Yemen, I wish to extend to the friendly Yemeni people the warmest congratulations on behalf of the Chinese people and myself. National unification accords with the will of the people and the general trend of events. Since unification, Yemen has achieved great successes in maintaining unification, social stability and developing national economy, which I heartily rejoice and admire.
May the existing friendly cooperation between our two countries get further development!
Wish the Republic of Yemen prosperity and the Yemeni people happiness!
Ambassador of the Netherlands, Mr. Arend J. Meeburg
On behalf of the Government and the people of the Netherlands, I wholeheartedly congratulate the Yemeni people with their celebration of ten years of unification. The unity has contributed importantly to the stability in the South Arabian region.
Much has been achieved since that time, but also much remains to be done. I am certain that the Yemeni people can overcome their problems by tackling such issues as the fast growth of the population, water management, education (in particular for girls and women) and improvement of the investment climate. I am convinced that these complete questions for freedom of the press and human rights. I am happy to share these views with many Yemenis. Therefore, I am sure that Yemen can do it! And the Netherlands is willing to assist and support!
Charg d’ Affaires of Pakistan,
Muhammed Saeed Khan
I hereby extend warm and deep congratulations to people of republic of Yemen on the 10th Anniversary of Unification. We wish to see Yemen progressing and its people healthy and happy.
This is an eventful day in Yemen’s history, we pray to Almighty Allah for Yemen’s happiness and prosperity.
Ambassador of Japan,
While the unity in 1990 was certainly a great achievement in itself, what always keeps me impressed is the continuous progress that followed the unity, i.e. democratization and economic, financial and administrative reform. I have deep respect for the Yemenis who spare no effort in trying to consolidate the unity, and also for the political leadership who have been pursuing the process gallantly for the last decade, despite lots of obstacles.
Ambassador of Turkey,
Thanks to the endless efforts and the eminent leadership of his Excellency Ali Abdullah Saleh, the unity of Yemen has been fully realized. On the tenth anniversary of the unification, Republic of Yemen has already become the most important image of peace and stability in the Arabian Peninsula as well as an indisputable model for the democratic process.
Ambassador of Eritrea,
Mohamed Osman Redo
The Unity achieved by the Yemeni brothers is the outcome of the real and sincere hard work which is carried out by the sincere sons and daughters of Yemen. And it is the real reflection of the Yemeni people’s ambition. This Unity is considered a positive step in the history of Yemen.
We wish the Yemeni people more prosperity and development.
Ambassador of Cuba,
Hector Argiles Perez
The Tenth Anniversary of the Republic of Yemen is a historical event and is the symbol of the unity of the culture and the traditions of the country.
In the last ten years, we have observed many results in the economy, education, health and other fields. The parliamentary and the presidential elections constitute a great happening for the democracy.
Of course, as a country of the third world, not all problems have been solved, but I think that there are efforts to solve them and ways for Yemen to reach new goals.
Country Manager of Proctor & Gamble to YT:
“Yemen’s Investment Law is Ranked One of the Best in the Region”
Proctor & Gamble is one of the biggest and most well-reputed companies all over the world. Its products are marketed in more than 140 countries and there are more than 70 branches of the company in different countries of the world. In 1993, the company started investing in Yemen. It built a manufacturing plant in Taiz in 1994 and started production in 1995. Tawfeek Al-Shara’abi of Yemen Times met with Mohammed Samir, Country Manager of the company, to shed some light on the company’s activities in Yemen and filed the following interview:
Q: What are the main products that you supply to the Yemeni market?
A: P&G produces and markets in Yemen detergents (Ariel and Tide), Diapers (Pampers), Female protection products including sanitary towels (Always) and Shampoos (Pantene, Head & Shoulders and Pert Plus). So far, P&G has invested $30 million in Yemen and employed 200 young Yemeni men and women. There are some other products that we import and sell in the Yemeni market. Every thing depends on the consumers’ needs.
Q: How do you assess the investment atmosphere in Yemen?
A: Yemen is a developing market undertaking a very aggressive economic reform program. There are things that make Yemen a very appealing country to invest in. First of all it has a strategic location. It has Aden port which used to be the port number 2 in the whole world until about 30 years ago. So there is no reason why it can not prosper again. Besides, Yemen has a very attractive investment law which is ranked one of the best in the region. It is actually the best in the middle East because you can get up to 60% in tax exemption. Companies which have set up operations in Yemen can benefit from being the first in this field.
The other thing which is very distinctive about Yemen is its deep rooted civilization and beauty of nature. Thus, tourism can play a very essential role in terms of attracting foreign as well as national capital to invest in the country.
Q: How do you find the Yemeni market?
A: The potential of the Yemeni market is big. It is the biggest nation in the Gulf population wise (18 million) and has the right mix of natural and human resources to make it an appropriate market for our products. Also, its geographic location could help us with export opportunities to neighboring countries.
Q: What are your prospects for the future?
A: We have many future prospects. For example, now we have seven brands which are produced in our Taiz plant. There are over 300 brands made by P&G outside the country some of which we import. So we have a long way to go. A month ago, for example, we launched a new branch in Aden.
We aim to remain the biggest multi-national consumer goods company in Yemen. We are working to maintain our leadership position so that our investment will payoff and the lives of Yemeni people will improve.
Q: Are there any obstacles the company faces?
A: The main obstacle we face is the implementation of the laws. For example, the investment law needs to be implemented a little bit faster so as to attract more investment in the country. Therefore what we need is a swift implementation of them. Other things, I won’t call them obstacles, but if they are maintained will certainly help promoting investment in the country, including improving the infrastructure in terms of laws, communications, roads, etc.
Q: What is your advertising policy?
A: P&G is one of the biggest advertisers. It spends on advertising more than any other company world wide. Besides, we have long experience in this. The second thing is that we issue advertisements which are based on the understanding of consumers in the country itself. Therefore, some of our ads are completely rooted in the Yemeni culture. There are some other advertisements issued by the company itself and are the same in all countries.
Q: Will you shed some light on the charitable activities of the company?
A: P&G’s mission is to improve the lives of the world’s consumers. As a result of this, we hope to achieve leadership results in the market place. In Yemen, we are following the same mission. Our goals are that we first want to supply consumers with the brands that will help improve their conditions. Second, we try to do our best to improve the conditions of the community we work in to help them prosper and benefit from our products. This is the social aspect that we take care of. Therefore, there are different charity organizations that we support, in addition to the charitable programs that we conduct by ourselves. We focus on the rural areas. We visit these areas, check what exactly is their need. We try to supply them with these things to the best of our capacity. On the top of that we help handicapped organizations, organizations working for children and their education.
Q: Any last word?
A: I would like to thank YT, the esteemed newspaper, for shedding light on the companies and investors investing in Yemen. I also hope that we will be up to the expectations of our consumers. And above all, I would like to congratulate all the people of Yemen on the 10th anniversary of the unification.