Promising Opportunities for Targeting Industrial Zones in Yemen
Sawt Al-Amal (Voice of Hope) – Yasmine Abdulhafeez
“I do not know how the people of the region can sleep in this noise. In industrially developed countries, is this noise in residential areas?” Maha Abdullah talks about the suffering of the people in some areas near industrial facilities, which are strikingly present in many Yemeni cities.
Maha, 29 years old, works as a marketer for one of the institutions. During her continuous work in the field, her attention was drawn to the presence of some small factories and industrial workshops in the middle of residential areas, which are a source of danger and concern for the health of the people.
Abdullah asks, how can the citizen live with one wall between him and the industrial facility? How are enterprises allowed to operate downtown? And near residential areas? Not to mention that there are carpentry and blacksmithing workshops, with the sounds and smells they emit. She notes that even if these enterprises were built before the expansion of the urbanization movement, they must be moved to other places far from residential areas.
There are many studies that have addressed the importance of properly planning cities and distributing their components in a way that guarantees the integrity of the environment against any risks that industrial enterprises may cause in their various fields and sizes. Whereas the proper planning of cities brings comfort and safety to the people.
According to a research study by the academic Abdulrahman Nasr Ghaleb Al-Hatami titled: “The Impact of Town Planning on the Environment in Yemeni Cities”, that the apparent reality of Yemeni cities proves that there is no balance between urban planning and environmental integrity.
The study addressed a set of recommendations, including, the study stated, “It is necessary to limit industrial activities within the city and to set strict restrictions for factories within the city or in areas near to residential complexes, in terms of their commitment to environmental standards. And that they not are a source of harm to the neighboring population, whether in terms of air or noise pollution. As they must treat their waste individually and impose pollution fees for factories, workshops, laboratories and other jobs that have a harmful effect on the environment and public health. The use of such fees to solve problems resulting from pollutants they produce on the one hand and encourage pollution reduction on the other hand.”
Laws of Allocating Geographical Areas for Industrial Facilities
This comes despite the existence of laws stipulating the importance of defining suitable areas for establishing such enterprises and obliging them to take the necessary precautions to maintain environmental security, integrity, supervise and control the work of such enterprises and implement a punitive penalty in case of violation of any legal procedure.
Article 11 of the Industry Regulatory Law, paragraph A, stipulates: “Defining the requirements of industrial development in terms of industrial areas and complexes, proposing appropriate sites for them in coordination with the relevant authorities, organizing their establishment and linking them to the necessary services.”
Article 12 also stipulates: “The Land, Survey and Urban Planning Commission and the local authority allocate industrial areas at the proposed land sites in accordance with the Land Law in coordination with the Ministry. It is not permissible to dispose of them outside the scope of the purposes assigned to them, taking into account environmental and population integrity.”
Article 16 of the same law stipulates: “Compliance with technical requirements for operation and production, implementation of industrial occupational integrity and security conditions, provision of sound means necessary to reduce the negative environmental impacts resulting from industrial operations and environmentally safe disposal of industrial waste.”
Article 18 stipulates: “Without prejudice to any harsher penalty stipulated in any other law.” Accordingly, the following is: “(a) closing the enterprise for a period of thirty days according to a ruling from the judge of urgent matters upon the expiration of the period specified for the enterprise without correcting the deficiencies resulting from violating the provisions of Article 16 of this law. This is after the enterprise has received a notice of that from the Ministry, or its office in the governorate in which the enterprise is located within its geographical jurisdiction, including the time limit and the type of violation.”
Article 19 stipulates: “The period of closure of the enterprise shall be doubled upon recurrence of the violation of the provisions stipulated in Article (16). When such violations are repeated more than three times, the enterprise shall be closed and its registration removed from the industrial register.”
The Importance of Allocating Industrial Areas
Elias Al-Thubhani, an expert in institutional and economic development, mentioned to Sawt Al-Amal that the presence of industrial enterprises in general is a positive indicator of economic growth. As for the existence of industrial enterprises in cities (assuming they are parties), this indicates that society can provide for its needs and requirements. And this is reflected in another way on the prices of commodities, as they will often decrease as a result of abundance and lower transportation costs. This is also a good indicator because the presence of industrial enterprises reduces unemployment rates, provides job opportunities, as well as creating a climate for other investors and encouraging them. And thus the environment becomes fertile and attractive to capital and savers.
Al-Thubhani adds that the construction of industrial enterprises within cities and near to the people, which are of large size and of a chemical industrial nature, is a negative indicator for several reasons. It is that such a phenomenon indicates the absence of prior planning by the state, the absence of the oversight aspect and the failure of the economic system especially if there are alternatives to residing outside the cities, and the availability of spaces, services, and facilities. Its presence near residential gatherings is disturbing and dangerous and has its dimensions.
The Importance of Establishing Industrial Areas
Regarding the establishment of industrial areas in Yemen, Wafiq Saleh, the economic analyst, believes that the establishment of industrial cities is important in terms of economic development and addressing many social and economic problems. Therefore, the industrial sector is one of the most economic sectors that absorb manpower from its various technical and scientific levels. In addition, the establishment of industrial areas helps to establish companies and investments in the country. It provides the appropriate environment for investors to establish investment and commercial projects.
“The importance of establishing industrial areas lies in the fact that they attract local investors and develop commercial activity, which generates more job opportunities as a result of increased production. And this helps to reduce unemployment rates in society, and facilitates the process of providing health and education services to workers in these cities, in addition to reducing the cost of setting up investment projects,” he continued.
The establishment of industrial areas is one of the most important ways that limit the country’s need for imports, contribute to employing many workers, reduce unemployment, raise the economic level in the country, as well as cover the market’s needs at the lowest costs commensurate with the purchasing power of the citizen, as engineer Ashjan Mashhour explains, Food industry engineer.
Mashhour explains the opportunities that characterize Yemen and qualify it industrially, which are: large areas, availability of water, especially in coastal areas, as well as the availability of most raw materials for various industries in general and food in particular.
“There are many opportunities in many regions of Yemen that encourage the trend towards establishing industrial regions and cities due to its geographical location, the diversity of its climate, topography and the diversity of its mineral wealth. Additionally, the country has a possession of human capacity and competence, also our country is rich in raw materials. These opportunities require the existence of industrial cities in various industries and their fields. And all of them are encouraging opportunities for our country to be a manufacturing and exporting region at the same time,” according to Marwan Al-Soufi, a specialist in industrial engineering.
Elias Al-Thubhani agrees with him, he said in his interview to “Sawt Al-Amal”, “Yemen has amazing economic potential. If it is exploited optimally, industrial opportunities will be available in more than one field and in many industrial sites, such as: the field of foodstuffs of all kinds, the field of plastic industries, the field of steel and mining and countless other fields. Only if there is a safe and attractive economic climate for investment and not a repellent.”
The Best Areas for Industry
Al-Thubhani believes that there are many opportunities to establish industrial areas in Yemen or at least to provide a safe economic climate for capital and investors by the state. As the availability of a safe economic climate may encourage investors to establish industrial areas at their own expense.
Elias Al-Thubhani, an expert in institutional and economic development, says about the best areas for industry in Yemen depends on the type of industry, its requirements for resources and manpower, as well as determining the market that will be the first target for that industry. He points out that the proximity to ports and seaports or lands is a major factor in determining suitable areas. Then comes proximity to the main lines of the road network that connect cities to each other, then proximity to population centers to provide manpower and ease of transportation. And then coming horizontal land areas, which is also an important factor in determining suitable areas for setting up industrial projects.
Necessary Policies for Industry
“It is necessary for factories to be established under the necessary conditions and for factories to be near to agricultural lands especially those specialized in the production of foodstuffs. The factories must use clean energy to preserve the environment and allocate places for throwing industrial waste, and that industrial waste can be used, recycle and use,” Marwan Al-Soufi said.
In this regard, Al-Thubhani believes that the policies that the industry needs are represented in the stability of the political and economic situation of the country. After that comes the talk about financial policies that encourage investment and the provision of strategic plans by the General Authority for Investment and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, as well as facilitating transactions, reducing customs duties, and reforming the network public services.
Regarding the most important challenges that prevent the establishment of industrial areas in Yemen, Ashjan Mashhour believes that they are: the lack of cash supporting the establishment of factories, the emigration of investors outside the country, in addition to the exposure of most of the areas located on the outskirts of cities that are eligible for the establishment of factories to conflicts, the rugged roads in the mountainous regions, and the difficulty of accessing water. Moreover, the proximity of the waste disposal to the enterprises sites and the difficulty in accessing some raw materials that must be imported from abroad and the high costs.
In addition, Adel Al-Kindi, an academic in the Department of Chemistry, University of Aden, says that one of the most important challenges that prevent the establishment of industrial areas in Yemen in the current situation is the repercussions of internal conflicts and the lack of a safe environment for investment.
Al-Kindi adds to the challenges, the corruption of state land ownership because of the documentation of countless real estate and property of the state with the names of influential people. He added that electric energy in Yemen is the biggest obstacle to investment because there are production costs for commodities. When electricity is available by the state, production costs will be low compared to production using private generators, which exhaust producers. Therefore, the imported product is cheaper than the local product and from here the investor leaves because he always thinks of profit.
He points out that one of the challenges is the difficulty of movement especially since the roads are not qualified and the ports require effort and capabilities to repair them, in addition to the lack of control over the banking system, lack of access to finance, regulatory obstacles and corruption.
Adel Al-Kindi explains that one of the solutions to establishing industrial areas is to stop the conflict, in addition to establishing generating plants for electricity that operate at low costs that do not burden the state economically. Solutions and measures have already been proposed in this regard, as well as financial and administrative reform.
“Stable countries, which have a solid infrastructure, an integrated services system, a legislative structure and a respectable judicial system, are the ones that can implement such projects that contribute to increasing industrial activity. As for our current situation in Yemen, it seems such matters are unlikely to be implemented on the ground as a result of the challenges facing Yemenis from various economic, political and security aspects,” according to the economic analyst, Wafiq Saleh.
51% of the Respondents Affirm the Significant Impact of Small and Medium-sized Industries on the Local Economy
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