26 June 2014

Fundasaun Mahein: Cement Factory in Caisido, Baucau District: Opportunity or Threat?

ETLJB 26/06/2014 - This Mahein’s Voice No 79 analyses the National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), and the Fifth (V) Constitutional Government's Plan is to transform Timor-Leste’s economy from “low income” to “High average” income. As mentioned in the view of NSDP that Timor-Leste by 2030 will have a modern diverse economy and will move away from subsistence agriculture by re-investing in commercial products from natural resource production.

The government has had a meeting with the council minister to approve a cement factory which will be located in Caisido area, Trilolo village of Baucau district. The investor will be coming from Perth, Australia, his companies: BGC and Swan Energy. According to their plan this project will be implemented on January 2015 with the purpose of this industry is to diversify the economy of Timor-Leste based on the views of the National Development Strategic Plan 2011-2030.

According to Fundasaun Mahein this cement factory is in line with national development and will help resolve some unemployment issues. On the other side of the issue though, that needs attention from the government, is to find an adequate solution to any conflict that may arise from the tension that the building of the cement factory has created.

In the beginning of the consultation process, the government and company did not explain in full detail the state’s policy over land, the environment and the impact of the cement factory to the affected communities. The government explanation was that the factory is to not only to produce cement for a long period but will provide job creation as well and will allow  thousands of people to be employed at the periphery. This explanation has created confusion over jobs, as it is not clear who is eligible for these positions? Whether it be the communities or technicians of the Company?

Fundasaun Mahein’s observations have identified that there is a strong possibility for land disputes in Caisido area. This could arise if landowners disagree with the construction of the cement factory, these have the potential to arise because of cultural issues and poorly defined land ownership rights

Recommendations

1.    FM recommends to the Ministry of Petroleum and Oil Resource with its Inter-Ministerial Team to conduct clear socialization efforts with the communities before building the cement factory in Caisido area.

2.    FM recommends to Districts Conjoint Team and the Company to explain clearly to the communities over the environmental impact of the cement factory so the communities will have better information about the risks they face.

3.    FM recommends to the government and the company to have a legal contract deal with the communities in order to ensure the communities’ life in the future.

Source: www.fundasaunmahein.org/2014/06/09/fabrika-semente-iha-caisido-distritu-baucau-oportunidade-no-ameasa/ 10/06/2014
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