Somaliland: Increased Airport Tariff Turns Acrimonious


As Aviation ministry lashes at MPs who want Parliament to recant approval of Mahmud Abdi Hashi as the Somaliland aviation and air transport top honcho

MP Bashir Tukale (L) in a call for a vote of no confidence in the Somaliland parliament Aviation minister  against Mahmud A Hashi R  as aviation minister

By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – A storm is brewing over a purportedly simple sms message informing mobile phone users of an increase in the fee charged embarking and disembarking passengers at airports in Somaliland.
The SMS which informed that the Tariff payable by all entering or leaving the country via its airports is now $43 saw a number of parliamentarians in the house of representatives react sharply and not only term it illegal but urged for the immediate disposal of Mahmud Abdi Hashi from his perch as the Somaliland minister of Aviation of air transport.
Not to be outdone the ministry which denied the increase of airport tax also accused the legislators of absconding their duties to the electorate through disbursement of not researched information while accusing state officials of non-existent wrongdoings.
the now in dispute SMS sent to almost all subscribers of Telesom mobile phone services, read “This is to inform you that a $43 airport tax shall be payable by all passengers embarking or disembarking while children under 15 years of age shall be charged $10”
immediately upon receipt of the message MPs Bashir Tukale and Jama Rayte called a press conference in which they termed the increase as illegal since it has not been approved by parliament thence the legal tariff is $10 it, the august house approved through Bill # Lr 61/2013 of 16th February 2013 and signed into law by president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo four days later on 20th February 2013.
Terming the increment without parliamentary approval as an illegal act the legislators said they intend to move a motion of no confidence in the house thence have Mahmud Abdi Hashi removed as the minister of Aviation and air transport.
In defence of his embattled minister against the accusations from the MPs the ministry’s Director General Omar Abdilahi Aden denied any increase having been effected informing that $33 is charged passengers on both arrival and departure who are also obliged to chip in towards airport security with an extra $10 thence the $43 announced through the fateful SMS.
While one not need be of the court of law arguments profession to know that $10 is the legal airport tax having been approved by parliament and signed by the head of state one similarly not need be a mathematician thence calculate the discrepancy which is $33 of illegal taxation.
One need not forget the extra one dollar charged all vehicles entering the airports presumably for runaway or road maintenances that again go to the ministry coffers again without parliamentary approval nor presidential acquiescence.
Meanwhile and as usual when two bulls fight it is the grass that suffers in these instance passengers who shall have to pay the $43X2 or utilize roads from their destinations while entering or leaving the country.