Establishing a Grade-1 construction firm or negotiating a deal with a Chinese construction firm – both in four weeks – are the options for the businessman who had Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn laying a foundation stone last week for what is claimed to be a seven billion Birr investment on 14 new factories.
Construction will begin on June 15, 2015, said Kamil Sabir, the managing director of the Repi Wilmar Manufacturing Complex on May 10, 2015, when the Prime Minister graced the huge tract of land, 100ha, which the company leased in Sebeta, 25kms south of Addis in the Oromia regional state. But as of now the company is yet to decide who will undertake the construction work.
Repi Wilmar is a company established by Repi Soap & Detergent Factory and Wilmar International Ltd, a Singapore company, with 50pc share each.
Repi, a company in the Alsam Group, is one of the major importers of edible oil in the country. It formed Repi Wilmar in August 2014 after eight of its executives visited the different factories of Wilmar.
The first phase of the construction, which will be conducted with an investment of 3.5 billion Birr, will build 10 of the total 14 factories. The factories to be constructed in the first phase include a palm oil refinery, soap detergent factory, and a sodium silicate melting and packaging plant. These are planned to be completed within 18 months, according to Kamil.
The second phase of the factories will see the construction of a wheat milling factory, fertiliser factory, pasta factory and a soybean oil refinery.
“The products to be produced by the complex are intended to supply the Ethiopian consumer market as well as for export to surrounding countries,” said Kamil.
The planned export destinations are Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Kenya, with the anticipated operation of Ethiopia’s railway projects to facilitate transportation.
The transformation of traders to manufacturers in their particular fields, is one of the major considerations of the coming Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II), said Hailemariam who was with Muktar Kedir, president of Oromia as well as other officials.
The first of the 14 factories, which will be the palm oil refinery, will come in two year’s time and will have the capacity of producing 420,000tn a year, which is intended to cover 80pc of the total market share. This factory will use crude oil imported from Singapore and Malaysia, which will be transported on Wilmar’s ships.
Wilmar, which currently processes and merchandises palm oil, is the owner of oil palm plantations in Asia, an oilseed crusher in China and manufacturer of the oil brand named Viking for the Ethiopian market.
“We are not strangers to the Ethiopian market,” said Kuok Koon Hong, chairman of Wilmar International. “We intend to duplicate many of our manufacturing plants in Ethiopia.”
For the simplification of transporting crude oil, Repi Wilmar will also construct a depot in Djibouti on a 60,000sqm plot of land.
According to Kamil, soil testing will begin this week, for the coming construction. Kamil did not say, however, how Repi Wilmar could establish a Grade-1 construction company and be ready to begin construction in four weeks. However, he said that if the construction company is not established, then they will talk with CREC, the Chinese company undertaking the construction of the light rail transit in Addis Abeba.