Somaliland Enters New Era

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DROUGHT-SOMALILAND-NRC
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Somaliland elected 5 Presidents since it seceded from Somalia. Every President had its own up and down. President Mohamed Ahmed Sillanyo is the only one who has a high academic qualification. He held a number of ministerial positions in Mohamed Siyad Bare Government.

He was amongst the very few ministers who dare to say No when wrong orders were given. It was one leap forward to construct a road connecting Erigabo to Burao, and then recap the road joining Kalabaib to Dila which causes hectic journey. There were rampant corruptions which were kept under the rug. The roles of the Parliament were marginalized and there were no checks and balances.

The former President deferred to the present President legitimate complaint of two segments of Somaliland population who think their shares of Government participation are not fair. The fanfare and excitements shown by people during the election were beyond imagination.

People expect much from elected President. The apparent leadership characteristics shown by the President are charismatic qualities that support justice and fights against corruption. The President made pledges to develop economic sectors that need improvement in vital areas. Somali people are resilient to hardship and with the genuine leadership, they can surmount any hurdles.

I mention below those development areas that have to be prioritized:

1. Minimizing Qaat import to three days only (Thursday to Saturday.) In doing so, the country can save a substantial amount of hard currency and reduce its consumption for health reasons.

2. The young man who graduated from Colleges have no the work skills needed for jobs available in the markets. More technical schools have to be built to train the students in technical fields such as electricity, plumbing, carpentry and vehicle workshop work. I give credit to former Minister of education, Mr. Abdilahi, who with farsightedness, established the first technical school in Burao.

3. In the field of agriculture, the potentiality is great for both food crops and exportable crops.

It is unacceptable to find no tomatoes and potatoes in the markets during the three days when an incident occurred in Oromo area. Let alone other places, these vegetables can be grown as home gardening in each family home. This is a practice common in each African countries.

The reality that exists in agriculture, most of the traditional farmers abandoned their lands in search of better lives in the cities. There is no incentive mechanism that lured them to go back to their lands.

Credit availability, renting tractors with low prices, opening irrigation canals in fertile valleys where water is available and supply of improved seeds can be incentives for the farmers.

Establishing Government autonomous Agency for tractors service with a reasonable price rent can play an effective role in agricultural development. The Agency will be self-financing and can buy tractors on loan bases.

With improved techniques, the Togwajale plane can produce enough food crops that suffice the needs of the country. There are groups of entrepreneurs who established vegetable production Project under shades in a green house with minimum water requirement. They deserve help.

The project that always in my mind is a production of high-quality oranges. The British brought early 50s orange seedlings from Natal, South Africa, and planted in Geed Deeble, Arabsiyo, and Amoud. The orchards planted 50 years ago are producing quality oranges. To grow large scale oranges needs importation of improved grafted seedlings and distribution to the farmers including farm inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. The oranges produce fruits in 5 to 6 years and can be competitive quality in Arabian markets.

4. The inflation of Somaliland currency created havoc for the low-income people. Except group Islands ruled by U.S.A, Zimbabwe, and Somaliland, no other countries use dollars as national currency. Those who amassed dollar currency should deposit it in the National Bank. The Somaliland shilling should be given fixed value in relation to the dollars.

5. The people should be oriented in Masjids and on radios paying taxes for the development of the country is compulsory. The minimal amount of taxes should be imposed on Government employees. Likewise, agencies dealing remittance, communication services, luxury hotels, and merchandizes importers should pay taxes from their profits. The sense of national spirit be aroused among the people that depending national resource is better than foreign aid.

6. Construction of infrastructures started by previous Government have to be completed. Feeder roads in mountainous areas where fertile valleys available be constructed. Roads are essential for the movement of agricultural products and goods.

7. The country is prone to clement weather that causes droughts. It is imperative to establish Food Security Program to avert shortage at the onset of drought. Water wells are needed in nomadic areas for people and animals. People who claim enclosures in grazing areas should be given annulment. Even the worst situations have some positive aspect. People learn a lot from the last drought. People and animals should not be dislocated from their environment. Those who were brought in Awdel despite the good gesture given by the people, they suffered because of the cold season. Preparedness is what is needed to mitigate the danger of the drought.

Mohamed Bahal

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