On Monday, March 8th, the president of Taiwan’s latest diplomatic ally in Africa, Somaliland, made his annual address to the people of his nation.
Like Taiwan, Somaliland is seeking increased international recognition and a place in the United Nations.
The following is the verbatim annual constitutional address of the President of the Republic of Somaliland in a joint session of parliament as published by the Presidency.
• Chairman of the Parliament
• Honorable Members of Parliament
• Chairman of the Supreme Court
• Commanders of the National Armed Forces
• The People of Somaliland wherever they are
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honor and privilege to be in the Parliament of the Republic of Somaliland to deliver the 2021 annual address to the nation.
The year 2020 began with a global virus that affected the whole world and at the same time made a total change in the way societies live. More than, 2.5 million people lost their lives and millions in different parts of the world had been affected by the virus. But it was a year that ended with a low effect and great success achieved in science and vaccines.
2021 was a year of stability and peace for Somaliland. It was a year that we have realized great success politically and diplomatically and our case has found different international forums where we can present them.
Last year, in the whole region where we live and the rest of the entire world there was a great change in the socio-economic, military, and political alliances which transformed the political and military features of the world. There were conflicts and wars which had great damage in many parts of the world. It is important to remind ourselves that these wars manifested the power of more than technology and the change they brought on the methods and tactics of war.
It was a year when an unprecedented election and great distortions happened in the Unites States which was the greatest trial and obstacles that Western democracy and elections had to face.
For Somaliland, the year was a great achievement for realizing total political peace and security. The government, the political parties, the Electoral Commission, Parliament, and the people of Somaliland united to hold the dual election of the House of Representatives and Local Government elections.
In regard to the economical categories of the world, Somaliland is considered to be one of the low economy countries. Although that exists, its continued economic development is being realized by the efforts of the different government efforts and businessmen who invested in the country. The government under my leadership is making a great effort to realize economic growth.
The four pillars of our economic:
- Revenue collected by Public Financial Institutions
- Investment and economic development by businessmen who have the main economy in their hands.
- Somaliland Diaspora’s support and the investment in the country
- Foreign investment and international aid.
51.67% of our income and the budget passed by the House of Representatives are used for national security, defense, and salary for civil servants. The rest of the budget is used for basic infrastructures and different activities such as the quest for recognition, job creation, development projects, infrastructure, education, health and access to drinkable water, etc.
The majority of international aids we receive are humanitarian and emergency support, as well as pilot projects. The political status for the country and sabotage by the government of Mogadishu are great obstacles to get foreign aid and major international investment.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our constitution pinpoints the structure and the economic administration of the country. Article 12 of the constitutions clearly provides that the government is responsible to establish the economic policy of the country which is based on free market and cooperation with the private sector, Public property commonly owned by the nation, Public assets and foreign investment.
According to the constitution, it is imperative that the economic policy of the country doesn’t allow the wealth and resources of the country to be in the hands of a group(s) or individuals in order to avoid the creation of economic classes which divides the people to have and have not’s. Similarly, Article 12 of the constitution promulgate that land is public property owned by the nation, and the state responsible.
To overcome economic difficulties such as unemployment and to develop economic infrastructures the government will implement laws to achieve vision and mission as enshrined in the constitution.
Since our reclamation of independence, the revenue system of the country depended on customs and tax. This is an outdated system of taxation that cannot be depended on. 78% of our budget depends on revenue collected from customs, while 22% of the budget is from Inland Revenue. As a nation, to be self-sufficient the government is trying to change the former revenue system. We are a nation whose income is low and who have low savings.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Last year, Somaliland had to overcome many major obstacles which had great impact on our economy such as
- Covid-19 had an impact on millions of people globally.
- Ban of livestock export.
- Effect of locust on our agricultural production.
Although these obstacles existed, the government had made great efforts to develop and improve the economy such as:
- 106 projects were financed from the national budget at the cost of 173 billion SL shilling. All those projects were implemented via tender.
- In 2021 our plan is to implement projects at the cost of 273 billion SL shillings.
- Development projects at the cost of 163.6 billion SL Shillings were realized by foreign aid we received. We thank our friends for their supports and at the same time, we inform them that Somaliland needs more support.
- The number of civil servants increased by 10%. In the last three years the number of civil servants increased by 5,150 people which is an increase of 26%.
- Although the government employed so many Civil Servants, this is a very low number compared to unemployment in the country.
- Looking at the GDP, the government manages less than 10%. We can deduce that the budget of the government cannot cover unemployment and poverty alone. This shows that a great responsibility of job creation and development of the economy depends on the free market as mentioned by the constitution.
- The value of Somaliland shilling is current around 8,500 SL shillings for the dollar. Inflation has decreased by 3.5% which is the lowest in recent years.
- There are four private banks in the country. The people have deposit of 200 million dollars. Last year the four banks have lent 70 million dollars, which means that they have 130 million dollars in the treasury which is not being used. This money which is idle can be used for developing industries, constructing modern hospitals and creating jobs.
- We don’t have international banks in the country. Although our local banks have their problems, we encourage them to target working like international banks which uses the deposit they have.
- We established The Institute of Agricultural Research with the aim of modernizing and developing farming and irrigation in the country to achieve self-sufficient on agricultural production.
- We are aware that the original seeds of our crops have vanished and the as such we have succeeded in reviving 23 different types of seeds which were popular in the country. We aim to establish a National Seed Bank.
- We have also vaccinated 3, 000,000 heads and 81, 000 nomadic families have benefited from thi.
- Construction of fishing port at Maydh began with 5 million dollar.
- The first phase of 400 meter construction of Berbera port is 100% complete. The port will have the capacity of serving 450 thousand containers per year, while its current capacity at present is 150 thousand containers. This will be an increase of 67%. Modernization of the port of Berbera targets serving the whole region.
- Berbera airport is being internationalized this year and will serve goods and the people of the region.
- The construction of Berbera corridor although delayed is moving at good speed.
- 252 km of Buroa-Erigavo road construction is complete. Only 32 km is remaining and this will be completed soon
- The 53 km Odweyne-Buroa road construction has begun and will be completed very soon “Insha Allah.”
- Construction of Lowyacaddo-Borama road which is being financed by African Development Bank will begin after the survey is completed.
- Tarmac road connecting Las-Anod airport with the centre of the town has been completed.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Somaliland is a rich country which can realize self-sufficiency in economy if we cooperate.
If the government becomes the guardian of the security,
If the government is the major job creator,
If the government is the main service provider
Yet, there is unemployment and the basic needs of the society which need to be taken care of as a nation.
- Education: We have built 76 schools, 400 teachers have completed their trainings and 670 others under training.
- Health: 589 thousand children have been vaccinated.
- 1.5 million Patients were treated in public hospitals and that is 12% more than last year.
- There is an increase of mental illness, diabetic, hypertension, heart disease, cancer and kidney diseases. This is due to climate change, way of life and socio-economic of the society.
- Last year, according to Ministry of Health, the number of patients who went abroad for treatment were 5,600 people with an average expense of 10 thousand dollars each that means that the society has spent 56 million dollars for treatment abroad. These indicate that society through cooperation can build modern hospitals in the country. This is an economic-bleeding and it is an issue that the public and the government should deal with.
- 42 bore-wells were dug in 38 districts in different regions and 16 others were rehabilitated.
- 81 ordinary wells were also dug in the different regions
- 13 large dams were built.
The world classifies security into three main parts- Security and defense armed defense, peace and order.
SECURITY AND DEFENCE
Thank God, Somaliland has armed forces that cannot that can be depended on, strong, valiant, experienced heroes on which the national security, defense and stability is relies on. The government and the people have the same vision to prioritize security and the people of Somaliland are grateful for them and have high esteem for them.
RULE OF LAW
Rule of Law can be achieved by raising the awareness and knowhow of the people. This will help the society on how to solve difficulties they face; it will unite them physically and mentally. This step will help achieve economic development and create a good administration which brings about rule of law. The government will secure the stability through raising their awareness and understanding and will use its power to ascertain stability when required. Rule of law, will help the society to have something in common, cooperate and trust each other. That is the core which the Judiciary is interested with. The judiciary is the binding factor of the society and as such it gives priority to:
- Protection of rights of citizens and equality
- Adjudication of disputes in the society
- Adjudication between the society and government
- And interpretation of legal disputes within government institutions
The stability of the society can be realized by having equal opportunities for employment, economy, education, and support of the vulnerable groups in the society. To realize this government has established National Service Program to give opportunities to Somaliland youth. We have insisted Civil Service Commission give job opportunities in government institutions through fair and equal competition, in order to avoid suspension and mal-affect of in harmony the society.
To give special consideration for the vulnerable groups in the society
- Economic support was given to 32,000 families living in different regions
- 18,976 girls were trained with different vocational skills and were provided money to establish small business.
- Food and other goods were distributed to more than 70,000 IDPs families.
- $320,000 were distributed to 4,500 IDPs families
We believe that good governance is one of the main pillars which guarantee social security, development of the nation and the realization of good governance for the government. It can also take part in the structure and services the government provides for the public, therefore:
- A major reform was made in the National Auditor General System.
- Major steps were taken against embezzlement of public funds by financial and administrative auditing on 72 government institutions. 31 public officials are accused and waiting on trail.
- 5 billion SL shillings which were embezzled were returned to the public treasury.
- Laws dealing with financial and administration investigation were strengthened.
Although the government had made great efforts to decrease different kinds of crimes in the country, it succeeded to some extent but hasn’t reached level it aspires to reach.
- For example, 4,824 crime cases were brought to the court.
- The numbers of inmates in the prisons are 2,904 of which most of them are young.
- 377 cases were registered as theft.
- 142 cases are registered as rape.
- 535 crime cases were registered to be related to drug selling business
- 302 cases were registered as car accidents.
The government after seeing the enormous difficulties and the reasons behind these crimes decided on ways of reducing this:
- Reducing poverty
- Awareness to be given by experts on crimes
- The government strengthening the law pertaining to control crimes, such as car accidents and drug.
- The government will fight crimes related to murder, drugs, and rape.
Somaliland is widely respected for its democracy, peace, and stability. These are two issues which regions in the country are not enjoying. We were implementing free and fair elections, one-man-one-vote for the last 19 years. This has attracted international respect and prestige. Thank God that we are ready to hold the dual-election of the House of Representative and the local governments-which we have waiting for a long time to be held after 83 days. The wind of the forthcoming elections is blowing in all the regions of Somaliland.
We thank the House of Parliament, political parties, election committee, security forces, candidates, and the people of Somaliland for accepting to hold a one-man-one-vote election peacefully. This is a sign of the political maturity of Somaliland. The government has prepared 132.6 billion SL Shilling for voter registration and elections.
When we began the process of election, Somaliland’s friends promised to support us financially. We have received the first part of their support of 50.1 billion SL. Shillings. The financial support of 33.1 billion SL Shilling was paid/to be paid by UK, Sweden, EU. Taiwan paid 17 billion for the election fund.
The government of Somaliland has decided to hold the election because elections decide the destiny of the people and that is our responsibility.
The numbers of candidates who have registered are 993. They have all gone through the legal procedure in which their education, efficiency, the responsibility were investigated. We commend them and we have respect for them. People who play football say “the 2 colors of a ball is white and black.” Similarly the voting card is “yes” and “no.” We have to know that only 331 candidates will have the “yes” card.
83 days only have remained to Ballot Day, and we know the number of candidates who will win. The only thing that we don’t know is their names and their appearances. I would urge you knowing the number of those who will succeed to accept the decision when the commission announce the result and avoid unrequited hullaballoo.
The foreign policy of Somaliland is based on good neighborliness, peace, mutual respect, and international cooperation. Last year, was a year of success for Somaliland’s foreign policy. It was a year when Somaliland made trips to different countries in Africa and was visited by different delegations from different parts of the world.
For 30 years we were looking for recognition. We were advised that Somaliland recognition is an African issue and has to go through AU. On the bases of that the government has made connection with member states of African Union. The result is that our cause has been supported by some and accepted by others.
SOMALILAND AND SOMALIA DIALOGUE
The government of Somaliland goal is to realize the independence of Somaliland and as such it has decided to go to any forum and meet everyone where the issue of Somaliland demand. We agreed to re-establish the dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia which has been on hold or suspended for a long period.
As you are aware, we had a summit that was held in Djibouti. You are aware also how at the International Forum, that the delegation I led had full confidence to present the reality of our cause. We thank the President of Djibouti for organizing the conference through experience full knowledge and neutrality.
Following that, the president of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta invited us to his country. You are aware of the reception and prestige the delegation I led was given.
You have seen and read the joint communiqué released by the two governments. You are fully aware the enmity and hatred that came out of the government that was ruling Mogadishu on that day and the decisions it has published. The position of that government was not directed on the government of Kenya but it was explicitly describing the hatred and enmity of that government has for the people and the sovereignty of the Republic of Somaliland.
Ahead of that, you also remember the hatred and enmity it manifested against Guinea when it invited us to its country.
I thank the presidents of Kenya and Guinea on their receptions and courageous decisions reached.
This indicates the degree of hatred and enmity Somalia has for us. Fortunately, the trips and talks we had last year had tangible results that Somaliland’s cause is an international issue that cannot be denied.
We have through these visits got new friends in Africa and the rest of the world.
Respect of Human Rights and the rights of nations for self-determination are the foundation principles of the United Nations. It is unfortunate, that United Nations doesn’t respect the principles of its foundations, regarding the wishes of the people of Somaliland and the resolutions it decided when it reclaimed its sovereignty on May 18, 1991.
The people of Somaliland decided to unilaterally pullout of the unity and establish the Republic of Somaliland.
Somaliland has taken the road for peace, good governance, democracy, one-man-one-vote elections and peaceful transfer of leadership. Unfortunately, the United Nations didn’t raise any of these issues nor give acknowledgement, respect and prestige which Somaliland deserves.
It is really surprising that some governments give recognition and financial support to Somalia which has taken the road of distraction, chaos, political unrest, and disorder.
We can say that these governments who supply weapons and economy to Somalia have their interest which is far and different from what is the good for the people of Somalia.
You are all aware today that the government whose term has expired and which didn’t get any legal extension is ruling Mogadishu. That government hasn’t any plan to hold elections and according to the media, international representatives who are in Mogadishu haven’t so far clarified their position about the government whose term has expired.
In addition to that, it is an intervention against Somaliland that the issue of difference includes calling Members of Mogadishu Parliament to represent northern regions. Somaliland states that it is clear aggression to call Members of that Parliament to be representing Somaliland, when in reality they live in Mogadishu.
I urge the People of Somalia not to allow or accept individuals who are fugitive/deserters from their country.
Somaliland Citizens who are implicated in such behavior will be dealt with, in accordance to the law.
Visioning and preparation of the future are educationally and economically important for better life and the development of the country. Problems facing us today:
– Man-made problems such as (conflicts, desertification which cause droughts, settlements and annexation of land in towns)
– Global climate change
– Modern technology has a lot of benefits but is harmful as well.
– Problems of Urbanization and the migration of people from rural areas to urban areas.
The problems we have mentioned indicate that we have a lot of shortcomings to be taken care of. It is an obligation for us living today to take the responsibility as a government, intellectuals, businessmen, Ulima and elites to wake up and put the basis for a better future for the coming generations and history.
What does Somaliland need in the next decade?
Somaliland focus its goal on the development of Somaliland Vision 2030; which needs to be a democratic country that abides by law, stability, prosperity for all its people and not for a few, and to be the beacon for education and civilization in Africa.
Ladies/Gentlemen, Good vision cannot be realized without effort and polarization. It can be realized through cooperation, harmony, unity and brotherhood. The people should hold each other’s hand and unite to achieve our long vision and mission.
I pray for the people of Somaliland to have lasting success, prosperity, and peace. I commend the House of Representatives and Local counsels which will hand over their responsibilities. I would also welcome those who will be elected. I pray for the election to be a good omen for development and peace.
Long live the Republic of Somaliland
Success for the people of Somaliland
This first appeared in the Somaliland Chronicle and is republished with permission