Derba MIDROC Cement Factory, which is expected to become the largest cement factory in the country, took various stakeholders for a field visit on April 4, 2010, in hopes of solving some of the diverse problems it faces with a private company, a traditional faith follower, and government policies.
It has encountered difficulties getting access to water; access to land, over which its huge conveyor belt is planned to pass; and duty-free benefits for materials it wants to import. Its list of visitors, who are hoped to help resolve the problems, included Aba Dula Gemeda, president of the Oromia Regional State; Kassu Illala (PhD), minister of Works and Urban Development (MoWUD); and officials from the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA).
The factory made explorations for water and found that there was enough accumulated in an area that is under Derba Flower Plc, a Dutch company in its neighbourhood. The Oromia Water Resources Bureau had granted the cement factory permission to extract the water. However, resistance by the flower grower stopped it for months.
“It is critical for us to get the water by September,” said Haile Assegdie, director general of Derba MIDROC.
Its second problem similarly involved the need for a right-of-way through other people’s property, this time 15 houses owned by a follower of a traditional faith, Demelash Girma. The conveyor belt that MIDROC wants to use to transport raw materials from the Mugher Valley to the factory 9km away requires the removal of these houses located in a village called Gimbitu, which has not been welcomed by Demelash.