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 and sinful. According to Wikipedia “government budget is a government document presenting the government’s proposed revenues and spending for a financial year that is often passed by the legislature, approved by the chief executive or the president and presented by the Finance Minister to the nation.
Somaliland budget 2015 (central Government) is not $180 million as claimed by the arrogant Finance Minister but merely 150 million USD. To make it clearer, the government wrongly calculated the exchange rate. The correct Central Government’s budget is USD 150,000,000 (Shl.1,080,000,000,000/7200).
Going forward, the picture is rosy. A government which devotes about half of its budget to security is a bad image. It is a government, which never wants to turn out to be a fully and effectively working nation.
Education and health claimed about 10.32% of the budget which is $15,490,850.39 dollars or $3.77 per individual per annum.
Somaliland’s GDP in 2012 was estimated to be 1.4 billion USD approximately 30% of GDP was derived from Livestock but the current Government is not giving priority where is due. It only allocated 0.637% for it.
The presidency budget, including ministry of presidency and presidential guard, has amounted to USD 7,676,717 (55,272,362,400 Somaliland Shiling). It has more budget than the following 13 crucial ministries: National Planning, Commerce and Investment, Mining and Energy, Fishery, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Postal and Telecommunication, Religious, Public Works, Labor and Social Affairs, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and Ministry of Industry, which has been allocated $7,506,115( 54,044,028,000 Somaliland Shilings). The presidential Guard has 56.5% ($2,132,266) more budget than the entire National intelligence agency $ 1,206,753.
Don’t be shocked! This is their accustomed budget portion; it has been so for the last five years. Simply no one can dare to touch the presidential budget including the elected house of representative.
Apparently, the government prefers propaganda than the fundamental bona fide issues related to livelihood of the general population. Take for instance, ministry of information has been allocated gigantic amount of $3,481,591 it has more budget than the combined five Ministries of Agriculture, Animal husbandry, Environment, Water and fishery which have got only $3,357,620. Isn’t that astonishing?!
The National Treasury is a new line which has been effective for the last couple of years. This line creates more questions than it answers . At the outset, it is ambiguous to know who manages it whether it is the President, Finance Minister or the flamboyant Minister of Presidency.
This year, the treasury account has been allocated $32,812,894.2. It totals up to approximately 21.875% of the overall budget. The sub lines are different like the documentation of printing new Somaliland shilling notes; to foreign trips to 2% of Eastern regions and Etcetera.
But a number of sub lines under the treasury are beyond the comprehension of many people and are highly questionable like the Emergency military Interventions (Gurmadka Ciidanka) which has been allocated $8,736,111.111 while last year it has been allocated only $1,652,777,778. This is an increment of 528.57% with no new military threats on sight shows that there will be a little chance of accountability on this line. Besides the implausible increase of the emergency military intervention, it is dubious why it has been put under the national treasury? Earlier on, it has been under the military with much smaller budget allocated. The change of location itself speaks in volumes.
We have been in trough skyrocketing cost of living for the last five years, with no specific measure taken to address the problem. The price of stable diets increased dramatically and the government loathes to attempt to take a remedial action start a fresh plans which are realistic, attainable, reliable, consistent and sustainable economically.
For the last 5 years, there has been a tremendous economic calamity, the taxation was on the rise, businesses were losing hope fast, the public didn’t saw any better government service other than much touted Ina-afmadobe-Erigavo Road which didn’t kick start as per the proclaimed plan and is still uncertain whether it will continue or end up as another blunder for this government.
Human Rights commission has been allocated $308,880 (three hundred eight thousand and eight hundred eighty dollars) 45% of this ($140,000) directly goes the 7 commissioners. Isn’t this a heavy pay for non-performing commission?! We deserve to be governed better.
Duplications are countless in this budget: for example, foreign trips are located differently at foreign ministry it has been allocated $138,888 while under Ministry of presidency’s foreign trips is allocated $245,555 and again under the treasury another $277,777 are accounted for foreign trips.
The government must go back to the drawing board and reconsider the highly exaggerated lines including :the emergency military interventions for instance, if the government invests $7,000,000 million dollars on food security it can cultivate at least, 50,000 Hectors which can in turn produce 40,000 tons of Maize that can be a wonderful achievement for this Loathed Government.
Finally, this budget is neither balanced nor appropriate and applicable to the current situation. Another lost opportunity.
Yassin A. Ahmed