Somalilandsun: While the government and people of Somaliland are open to international investment and operations of foreign concerns in the country, legalities pertaining to such must be put in place.
This was stated by the minister of finance Dr Saad Ali Shire in relation to question of the status of banned flights by FlyDubai and Al-Arabia airlines during an interview with SAHAN TV in Hargeisa.
The two Emirati airliners that were operating low cost flights to the country were banned by the government after taking obeying orders not to operate during Covid-19 restrictions from the Somalia federal government in Mogadishu.
According to the government in Hargeisa the two airliners are same as others operating in the country like Ethiopia Airlines , African Air and Air Djibouti which undertake their business legally after entering into agreement with the Somaliland civil aviation and Airports authority.
“We therefore need correct any insinuations that the ban imposed on the two Emirati airliners is politically oriented” Dr Saad Ali adding that the reasons behind the move relate to a non existent aoperstion agreement”
Stressing that the services of both FlyDubai and Air Arabia are imperatives as the competition they bring to the air transport industry leads to low cost tickets, the finance minister also said the absence of the two airliners also impacts on airport revenue as well as goods that they used to transport from Europe and the Gulf countries.
Despite the setbacks that results from the ban the Emirati airliners must legalize their operations through agreement with relevant Somaliland authorities just like those from Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti do.
The finance minister was putting clarity into a recent government decision to extend the ban of the Emirati concerns following a heated council of ministers that set conditions a number of conditions to be fulfilled before the suspension order was rescinded.
The conditions include an apology letter to the people and government of Somaliland and an agreement with local civil aviation authorities.
While Air Arabia is yet to comment on the conditions FlyDubai has revealed that it has initiated negotiations with the Somaliland government while pledging to adhere to all legal parameters required
According to finance minister Dr Saad Ali Shire the two airlines should take a leaf from DP World an Emirati firm that entered into agreement with the government of Somaliland for operation of the Berbera port.
“In this deal we don’t receive any subsidies from the UAE but an annual port rent payment of $5m” says the minister thus wondering why not FlyDubai and Air Arabia.