The decision to construct the House of Council was not a thoroughly planned one – it happened from the frustration of the Royal President after yet another long winded argument between departments over who gets what space. During a Desera Council meeting, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Finance both declared they needed more space to operate efficiently, something the Independence Hall lacked. An argument over who would get the final two available offices in the building led to the head of the Ministry of Transportation, Jaleel Borkani (also head of the Borkani tribe of northwestern Desera), to storm out of the meeting. At that point, the Royal President Sidebe Mallam’s temper flared, and he declared the illegal houses next to the Independence Hall be cleared and immediate work to start on a new building to house the council and its departments. The Independence Hall would continue to serve as his residence and his office, the Royal President declared, but would have nothing more to do with the Desera Council.
Indeed, work started immediately, and after its completion, the government had spent almost E30 million on the project as a whole. The architect was a local man, Haitham Banja, who had just finished his degree in the United States, and was given the task of designing a building befitting to Deseran culture. The Royal President, in his meeting with Banja told him of the importance of the building and how it had to be a reflection of Desera as a whole. In the end, pretty much everyone was extremely happy with the result.
Towards the end of Year Five, the Desera Council officially opened to the public the Kafra Beach Hotel – initially, the name Kafra Palace was given to the project, but the Royal President felt the name did not befit the architecture, and so the name was changed. The project, which cost E80 million, was the second largest the council had undertaken, with only the Kafra International Airport costing more. The adjacent beach was given to the hotel property, and easily became the country’s most popular destination during the weekends.
The Kafra Beach Hotel had a total of 243 rooms, including 10 suites, as well as 3 restaurants and a nightclub. The regular other services were there, too, such as swimming pools, a spa, and access to its own private beach. It was, by far, the tallest building in the country, and had a second, smaller building whose rooms were rented out as private residences, generally used by foreign dignitaries and businessmen who were staying in Kafra for a few weeks or months at a time. The guest rooms were equipped with modern technology – satellite TV and internet, 40” LED screens (55” in the suites), marble bathrooms, and elegant interior design. Many of the middle and upper class families of Kafra chose to stay at the hotel for the weekend, enjoying the services and hospitality.
Desera’s oil production of 5,000 barrels per day doubled during Year Five, as investment was poured in to the oil sector by the government. More importantly, however, was the ground breaking on a new refinery that would mean the country would no longer have to import refined oil, and instead be able to use its own to meet the its growing demands. The Yelmara Refinery, named after the area where the oil was being extracted from some 150 miles north of Kafra, was due to become operational in around two years, and initial costs put it around E150 miliion. Nevertheless, the majority of Desera’s oil production would still be exported, but the fact that the country would be able to support itself in terms of its oil demand would mean subsidies on the resource for the general public, something that would help the economy in a big way.
In Kafra, planning was being done to begin work on a university, as the Royal President continued to insist that education was the way forward for the country. As educated labor force, he claimed, had to be the pillar and backbone of Desera’s economy. Although there was no official word on the location or details of the university, it was hardly a secret around town that the project was due to commence any day. The most likely location, it was presumed, was either north of the city on Mallam Road, or to the east of it, down Masjid Street and to the north of the new Kafra Beach Hotel. Obviously, however, there were still no details on how the Desera Council was going to make it affordable for the common family to be able to send their children to this university.
Kafra’s population was now at over 15,000, and there were no signs that the growth was going to slow down anytime soon. The Desera Council was becoming aware that they had to do more to spur on private investment, both in the capital city and in the country – they needed local and foreign companies to create jobs and bring money into the system. This was one of the council’s main objectives going forward.