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The Pitfalls Off 2009 SL Budget
By Yassin Abdillahi Ahmed, Hargeysa, Somaliland
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 close to 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.
Somali Lander’s on March, 1 found a reason to disappoint after the finance minister delivered his budget speech in front of the House of Representatives.
They supposed the budget will focus on the usual eminent priorities –accelerating economic growth. Creating employment opportunities for the youth and alleviate poverty.
An iota of infrastructure development was not allocated at this budget.
As expected, Awil showed no mercy for the planning ministry by decreasing one third of its previous budget.
Spending on social services was one of the lowest components of Sunday’s budget education and Health amounted to about 6.90% of the budget which is little more than three million 3042583.32 or 0.869 per individual which is significantly less than the previous year.
The ministry of presidency has a $2,466,788.52 which is more than 14 combined ministries including: planning & national co-ordination, water and minerals, agriculture, animal husbandry, posts and telecommunication, public works and transportation, parliamentary co-ordination, family & social development, youth and Sports, rehabilitation and reconstruction, pastoral development and attorney general which was allocated 2,247,744.68.
The Ministry of presidency has only 73 staff which are 13A Grade, 19B, 27C and 14D but ironically it was allocated more than the ministry of education which has 2679 workforce. To shed more light, the later ministry has 644A Grade, 1634B, 36C and 385D that is the shoddy budget allocation which current finance minister calculated. The Kenyan whistle-blower has rightfully written a new book which he named “it is our turn to eat” but truly in Somaliland we need thousand whistle-blowers.
To date, Somali Landers are not aware the economic policy of this Government. We have huge stakes both regionally and internationally.
We need to build production capacity infrastructure and to develop human resources through massive public investments in education and health.
Although budget is government vision and as usual vision articulates a realistic, credible, attractive future of the country but without fear of contradiction this budget is day dream of the current government.
Draughts have hit hard our entire Country. The government itself affirmed that one third of its populations are in severe living conditions. The budget didn’t address the plight of the pastoral population. Put simply government of today is out of touch! Nepotism, favoritism and loyalty became the underpinning of appointment to the public service.
The only Ministry which its budget increased considerably is the foreign ministry: but our foreign policy is cynical, our relations with the regional countries are questionable and high level corruption is out of control.
Instead of tinkering at the limits, this might be the time to move boldly on cutting waste and creating a lean government. We could set a good example by slashing without mercy to a more lucid size, the bloated, wasteful branch called the cabinet. Bearing in mind, that Well-focused, self-confident leadership is what turns a vision into reality.
The House of Representatives must walk the talk and tell loudly and daringly the incompetent, unqualified and arrogant finance minister that the time for ‘business as usual” has gone long time ago. They should rebuff this budget otherwise or else their reputation will be on the line.