By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Plans to at the new look ministry of trade and International investments to create an International Investment Promotion Agency-IIPA are at an advanced stage.
Reliable sources indicate that initial activities by Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar who took over at the ministry last month, have concentrated on establishing necessary mechanisms to put the agency in place even as he continue mundane functions especially briefings from senior staff.
The proposed International Investment Agency is geared towards consolidating diverse services related to the ease of facilitating foreign investments through consolidation thence obliterate excessive bureaucratic procedures.
The proposed IIPA which is expected to be launched within the month shall have a management board chaired by Dr Mohamed A Omar and composed of six ministers and most likely a number of slots allocated to professionals from various sectors.
According to our sources the mandate of the Agency is to ensure that the country does not only attract much needed and long sought foreign investments but scrutiny of the investors and investment capital base as well as.
While prospective investors receive a toothcomb scrutiny they shall also be placed in a position of making informed business decisions through provision of relevant and factual information pertinent to both their sectors of interest and entire country’s abundant opportunities.
Currently many investors especially from the diaspora community are known to channel their hard won cash into commercial opportunities first seen a the goose that lays the golden eggs , yes on paper, but turn to white elephants thus immense loss which coupled with excessive bureaucracies demoralize them never to return again for investment.
Dr Omar, the Trade and International Investment minister who is himself from the diaspora seems to have conceived his investment promotion agency brainchild during his distinguished tenure at the foreign ministry where apart from having the Diaspora management agency under his belt must have received numerous reports woes from broken hearted investors both foreign and diaspora community that appear on paper
If the international investment promotion agency takes root without hindrances the country’s abounding and untapped investment opportunities shall be paraded to prospective international investors not only through trade fairs in major economic capitals but electronically as well.
The proposed brainchild of Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar is to benefit greatly from past activities of the USAID funded Program for Economic Growth which has been working in close partnership ministry for a number of years.
In May this year the ministry took over a block of new offices, furniture, computers and assorted equipment as well as business registration software funded by the programe and intended for use in the Digitalization of Investment Information.
According to the program for economic growth Investment Promotion Specialists Mr. Adam Ismail , the software and equipment availed the ministry coupled with training to staff shall negate hitherto prevalent method of archiving relevant information in file folders which are not only susceptible to loss but destruction as well.
With the entire data at the click of a mouse investors shall no longer waste valuable man-hours to and fro the ministry while staffers search archives for files that should have been but not.
Apart from data at the click of a mouse, duteous and now adept politician that Dr Omar has become shall also have his agency for promoting international investment brainchild benefit from the Somaliland Business Confidence Index -SBCI another initiative by the USAID funded program for economic growth program.
The Business Confidence index which is being prepared jointly by the program, Trade ministry and various stakeholders is intended to gauge the perception of businesses that shall benefit the country for it shall:
• Outline the legal and regulatory process of investing in Somaliland for local/Diaspora/foreign investors.
• Provide potential investors with the accurate and frequently updated information that will make them undertake informed investment decisions on the priority sectors.
• Review business failures and successes in order to address perceived threats;
• Profile investment-ready businesses in the country that have already developed their business plans;
• Create a web-based platform for investment opportunities and a one-stop shop for potential investors to be taken step by step through the processes of investing in Somaliland;
A spot check at the ministry reveal an overtly discernible change not as in the change from the dim lit corridors and offices of the past to now bright and shiny but in the rejuvenated spirit and morale of staffers thus perfect service to the nation.
Without doubt the indescribable change that appear to be taking place inexplicably at the trade ministry must be attributed to the aura both professional and personal of the youthful minister who while in pursuit with usual gusto for serving his motherland seems to be oblivious of the effect.
For those who thought (most likely Dr Omar as well) that transfer from the foreign affairs portfolio was a demotion the fact is appointing Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar as minister of trade and Foreign investment was a commendable move by president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo since the Dr seems to be the perfect engine for Somaliland’s economic development.