A study commissioned by Adama Science and Technology University (ASTU) indicated that the cement industry in the country is facing a persisting lack of local trained manpower, which in turn has forced operators to hire foreign nationals to produce the product.
The study, published on Thursday, was conducted to assess the composition of employees at the top local cement factories, and found that the majority of employees under the study are expats. The study was conducted in the past three months.
ASTU Technology Center Dean, Worku Jifara (PhD) told The Reporter “The proportion of local and international staff in cement factories is uneven,” and added that even in most cases available local staff are only labor and low-level employees.
During the course of the research, factories like Dangote Cement were not cooperative to reveal their staff proportion and researchers were prohibited from making an observation in the factory, Worku highlighted.
“While many Engineering graduates are jobless and idle, it is unfair to bring foreigners for the job,” said Worku.
Worku called on concerned government bodies and non-governmental stakeholders to devise mechanisms to provide training for local staff to make them efficient to compete in the market and provide them employment opportunities in cement factories operating in the country.
By the same token, Deputy Director of the Chemical and Construction Inputs Industry Development Institutes, Simret Girma, told The Reporter that “There is very limited size of local staff in the cement industries and Ethiopian authorities have limitations in supporting the sector to produce trained manpower.”
The failure of expats to share their experiences with local staff as stated in their contract agreements and the companies’ minimum commitment to meet their obligation of providing capacity building trainings for local staff contributes to the decreasing number of Ethiopian staff in the sector, Simret highlighted.
In this regard, ASTU in collaboration with the Ethiopian Cement producers Association and Chemical and Construction Inputs Industry Development Institutes, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would allow to work together, to solve research, manpower, and consultancy problems in the sector.
According to Simret, while there is an improvement in cement production and distribution, the frequent and continued power supply disruption is affecting the productivity of cement factories.
Currently, of the 17 cement factories both at production and project level, 12 factories are actively producing cement at different capacities, Simret noted.