Somaliland: A Country on Auction


The front side of historical Erigavo post office behind the green gate after it was sold to a private company by the government of Somaliland

By: Adam Ahmed Adam

Somalilandsun – If our citizens and government understand the importance of their public asset they would be able to manage these assets more effectively and economical with the help of the country’s infrastructure. Let us go back in the early years of 1990s when the civil war and chaos existed and people were involved in destruction and looting of the country’s basic infrastructure.

We have witnessed the looting and demolition of Berbera Cement industry, Laasqorey fishing industry and Hargeisa milk industry. The reason behind such devastation was clear. It was a lack of effective and functioning government and persistence of armed militia and intra- inter clan wars. Some people believed that these assets belonged to the ousted Somali central government. Then we have experienced the impact of chaos and anarchy which resulted to the loss of the most valuable assets that we highly needed for job creation, revenue generation and production output.

Today in twenty first century, the country recovered from chaos and anarchy. A system of governance has fully functioned and democratic institutions which held number of free and fair elections resulted transfer of power by vote. But the country is still practicing old primitive fashion of destroying and looting remaining saved assets owned by the government. I observe that the previous and current administrations sale state owned resources such as Hargeisa Electricity Power, government real states, and public libraries and even on the way to transfer the only functioning port in the country plus block of land for oil exploration projects. I do not have a doubt that the auction proceeds on a public sale in which goods or property are sold to the highest bidder, but follow in favor of interest and mutual of understanding between individuals involved the looting of public asset.

Additionally, the government has the right to sell or lease public asset in order to cover its potential cost through legal procedures based on transparency and accountability. The impact of this is letting go of a long-term valuable asset in exchange for a one-time payment. The government’s argument says it will improve efficiency, increase competition and tax revenue will rise. I disagree with such assertion. It shows me a complete failure to run country’s infrastructure sector and economic sector. The entire leadership of departments involved in these activities shall resign because of their failure to effectively and legally perform assigned work.

The now derict from Looting Berbera cement factory built in the 1970s photo by Jan ObergIn a prominent case study when the Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy on 2008, USA administration started to nationalize and this resulted in a variety of government bailouts that were implemented to stabilize the financial system during late 2007 and early 2008.

Similar case happened in Somaliland, a Qaran express which was one of the private financial institution was trusted by our people with respect to licence provided by our administration as a legal entity and then deposited huge capital asset, hired a lot of people, declared bankruptcy on 2012. In fact it was sad news to hear for the depositors and employees.

In my conclusion, we are all aware of that our parliament not yet proposed a bill of private financial institution and bill of auction of country’s public asset. Then why do we accept to the legitimacy of all these activities and validity to operate the county or to sale public asset? Are we standing for a country of principle or still a country of anarchy?

Adam AhmedThe author Adam Ahmed Adam is economist based in Erigavo, Sanaag region of Somaliland.

Copyright: Somalilandsun, 2015. 

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