(By Muse Jeeh)
A lot of things are waiting for the cabinet ministers approved in Somaliland. The most pressing matters to be faced by the ministers are included by inflation, poverty, poor healthcare, education, corruption, lack of water in Hargeisa and tremendous youth unemployment which are all threats to social stability and peace. In fact, approving the new cabinet is quite interesting as they can be legally able to work for the nation after their appointment, but those unlimited number of challenges and obstacles may likely hinder the success of the first 120 target days for the government to start winning the people’s trust. Somaliland legislators approved 21 ministers for the new government in the past three days while the remaining two are in working visit to abroad.
It seems that the government is facing financial crisis with higher inflation in the exchange rates. According to ministerial degree sent to all government institutions by the new finance minister, Mr. Yusuf Mohamed Abdi stated that 70% of all expenses for the new government have been cut off unless the new government budget is approved. This is going to be the first challenge for the cabinet to perform their operations well, since a month has already left following the inauguration of the new president, Muse Bihi Abdi in the country.
The contemporary financial crisis has already impacted the government employees’ salaries and incentives. Many employees are still waiting their salaries for the past month, although the government started the payment during these days but what is really making the matters worse, is that inflation is still soaring to the sky.
Life is very complicated for the people because of the exchange rates. The government employees have also been affected by the exchange rate as they are receiving their salaries in Somaliland shillings. I have observed that the current rate of one hundred dollar is above one million Somaliland shillings which is the highest rate it reaches for ever.
On the other hand, the new government’s top priority should be security and securing the borders of Somaliland since the country reclaimed its independence from Somalia. Government was elected to defend the country from any enemy at any cost. The cabinet was a trained on their duties and responsibilities as well as the function for their ministries to afford any misleading and job-conflict which was a serious issue paralyzed the former administration.
I call for the new government to quickly approve the national budget for 2018 and try to come up with a national strategy for Somaliland youth employment, which can be a threat to the security. However undertaking all those issues would be the responsibility of the new cabinet but if the new budget is not adopted dramatically, all those things will end up in smoke. The ministry of finance should hastily submit the annual budget to the cabinet and to the House of Representatives in order to enable the cabinet to work effectively.
Muse Jeeh is a freelance writer based in Hargeisa, Somaliland. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.