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Comments On The Somaliland Budget 2008
By Yassin Abdillahi Ahmed
The lower house of parliament approved the Somaliland budget 2008 On 29 May, but many wondered why the lower house of parliament made such a blunder? As they say the devil is in detail.
Before I look at the budget in detail, I must say a word or two about the definition of budget. Budget is a financial plan that articulates the objectives and goals of a government for a certain period of time usually a year; in other words, it is the government’s economic strategy for that period. But there are occasions when planning, instead of helpful, becomes harmful or sinful.
Going forward, the picture is rosy. A government which more than half of its budget is devoted to security is a bad image. It is a government, which wants never to turn out to be a working nation.
Obstacles are as many as the challenges, the government failed to address, top of which Is improving the remuneration and social condition of workers, teachers, the backbone of whatever development this society can boast of, are peanuts, while MPs, ministers, Judges and bureaucrats gobble up disproportionate share of public expenditure without attendant results. The alleged 32581 employees is not what the people want or expect.
Sad to witness that 51.13 % was allocated security and Judiciary, 20.55 % Administration & Political fund, 12.58 social services and thirdly, 10.76% Economy and productivity and finally, development & projects which is far behind was allocated 4.98%
The recruitment of more than six thousand new employees has further complicated the already deprived services, what I want to shed the light is: while many of the Government Employees come to office at the end of every month only to collect the meager salary. It is worthless to increase the number but it can be much better to reduce the existing number, increase pay and divert part of this massive fund into development.
Education and health amounted to about 7% of the budget which is less than 4,000,000 dollar or 1.16 per individual.
Interestingly enough, Gurmadka Ciidanka has more budget than the entire Ministry of Health and Labor coupled with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Now, the 2008 budget that the cabinet have approved early May, which further the parliament has endorsed unanimously on 29 May, amounted to 50,000,000 million dollar, about 26 % more than last year (2007) but who benefited from it. Overall, Almost all ministries and Government agencies have benefited from the estimated revenue increase except few places like, residence of president, vice president, higher Education
The military has received the uppermost increase 41.8 %, seconded by Police about 33.13 %, followed by the ministry of presidency, which received 30.39%.
Ministry of presidency was allocated to 3,050,706 dollar ironically, it is more than 14 combined ministries including: Justice, planning, commerce, water and minerals, Animal husbandry, post & telecommunication, religion, Tourism, Parliamentary Coordination, Family affairs, youth & Sport, Aviation & Air transport, Agriculture and Attorney General.
The finance minister, in his budget speech; did not make regret that many Somali Landers cannot access healthcare services; he did not raise red flag on the mismanagement of public funds. He did not mention how the continuing increases in oil prices, rising inflation, an expected drop in food production (because of low rainfall). As well as the skyrocketing rice prices will or will not, affect the budget.
Following, the election of the parliament there was a bitter relation between them and the cabinet but somehow the Government maneuvered to start a new chapter, and of course, since then a lot have changed, thanks to the softy speaking, career diplomat, shrewd finance minister who eventually made the economic committee of parliament more approachable. He used various techniques chief among them was delaying budget unnecessarily; tribal card and party line was also crucial.
But it is not a pointless, to remind the MPs the their term is nearing and soon they will face the people’s court. Beware tribal cards will not work; generational change is looming! On the horizon Unpaid retirement is imminent or inevitable It is high time the parliaments to revive the lost opportunity because there is still a window of opportunity.
The competency, maturity, sincerity, patriotism and integrity of the House of Representatives are highly questionable.
Anything I admired? Yes. The continuation of Aburiin project, the reconstruction of Egal airport, the rebuilding of Laasqoray Port and the recruitment of ten short-term consultants for the planning Ministry. These and many others were needed long time earlier than now but as they say: it is never too late!
The eight MDGs adopted by the UN in 2001 as the Marshal plan and prescription for the developing the world, are:
They were universally embraced as the framework for measuring development progress. Yes Africa is missing out on what is commonly viewed as the road to better world in 21st century but is it in the dictionary of our elected Government Branches? I left the answer to the readers.
All is not lost, yes we can achieve but, If only our leaders maintain the focus the focus on the road a head, never tiring, losing steam and concentration. What Somaliland needs is leaders whose prosperity and capacity, as well as willpower, are indivertible, uncompromising and unrelenting.
By Yassin Abdillahi Ahmed, Hargeysa, Somaliland