Somaliland economic growth is on the rise despite the unique economic constraints the country is facing.
In his annual address to the nation, Somaliland President Musa Bihi said the revenue for the country surged 4.5% in fiscal 2019 which is a clear indication of the efforts and capabilities of the National Revenue Authority.
“The economy is the basis for the development and transformation of life and society in every country. Therefore, the government is focusing on the development of the Republic and the promotion of the national economy,” Bihi said.
“The GDP growth rate in the UK has increased by 2% in the last two years, whereas the economic growth in Africa is estimated at 3.4% in 2019 by the United Nations. This indicates that Somaliland’s economic growth is on the rise, despite the unique economic constraints of the Republic of Somaliland.”
Bihi said his government has been able to raise inflation by 19% to 4% in 2019; we have also succeeded in raising the value of Somaliland Shilling by 21% in 2019.
In the fiscal year 2019, the Somaliland government expenditure on national projects amounted to USD 260 million, paid entirely by the State. The government has allocated USD 1.5 million to projects entirely funded by the state.
According to the president, the Public Finance Management System (PFM) has been implemented to help improve the country’s financial system, tax collection, revenue growth, spending power, implementation of development projects thus drive economic growth in the country.
“Although every effort is being made, there are major economic challenges that need national consultations because we are a country of imbalance in exports and imports,” the president said.
“For example, in 2019 we imported goods worth $ 572,713,970 assessed (Customs Import – Export Value), we exported goods worth $ 211,732,852 thence a deficit of ($ 360,981,118) a financial constraint.”
“Therefore, in order to get out of the trade imbalance, we will increase production and manufacturing in the country. We have made tax exemptions worth up to $ 15 million for small-scale industry and limited-use products.”
On agriculture, Bihi said his government is focused on promoting agricultural production, animal welfare and fisheries.
He said the government utilized 42,000 hours in tilling support to farmlands while free seeds were delivered to 14,000 households nationwide and donated 7 tractors to Agricultural Cooperatives in Berato and Beer in Daadmadheed and Togdheer Regions.
He further said about 750 meters of water and 85 Water pumps were availed and distributed equitably to 170 families in all regions of Somaliland while 38 veterinary teams from the government vaccinated 3 3 million livestock against various diseases nationwide while 1,500,000 ailing livestock including sheep, camels, cattle and horses were treated without charge.
Bihi said livestock fattening forage was distributed free of charge 19.550 families pastoralists in all regions.
His government, he said, has purchased four boats for training fishermen in the country.
Touching on infrastructure, Bihi said the expansion and modernization of the Berbera Port are underway with 43% which is 400 meters long of the first phase of Port Expansion complete.
He stated that 7% of the Berbera Corridor which connects Somaliland and Ethiopia is complete and in use while construction of 22.5 kilometres of the track as part of the Berbera Economic Corridor geared towards diverting heavily laden trucks from the capital Hargeisa will start soon.
“The governments of Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to elevate Berbera Airport to international standards for purpose of supporting cross-border regional, regional and international trade,” he said.
Other projects he mentioned include the completion of an additional 107 kilometres of the Burao –Erigavo Road, completion of 49 49 kilometres of Hargeisa-Kalabaydh highway, construction of the Bridge connecting Borama town to Amoud University, repairs to the road between Las Anod and the village of Samakaab and Adhi-caddeeye and renovation to the second bridge in Burao destroyed by heavy rainfall.
The President said the government is focusing on the public’s access to economically affordable quality health services by providing health services in vulnerable communities, such as maternal and child health clinics, improving health services at all levels where 512 public health professionals have been recruited and seconded to all regions and providing further training to 3,100 Health Professionals, to improve the quality of health services available to the Somaliland community.
He also talked about education, security and national defence, drought and climate change, foreign policy and the country’s continued clamour for international recognition.
BY ODINDO AYIEKO