29 June 2023
In a recent statement that counters claims made by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Puntland’s Finance Minister, Mohamed Abdirahman Dhabancad, has clarified, in an interview with the BBC, the semi-autonomous state’s position on the issue of debt relief for Somalia.
Minister Dhabancad’s statement serves as a response to assertions made by FGS Minister of Finance Elmi Mohamud Nur, who previously suggested that no contention existed between Puntland and the FGS regarding debt relief.
“The truth is, I don’t want to answer the Minister directly—he is, after all, the Finance Minister of Somalia—but it’s important to present the actual facts,” Dhabancad stated. “When it comes to nation-building, Puntland has a clear agenda.”
He elaborated that Puntland’s stance is centered on seeking consensus within Somalia’s federal system before moving forward with debt relief initiatives. Key points include agreeing on regulations or laws for managing debt relief, outlining the nation-building process, and determining a fair distribution of powers and resources.
Dhabancad underscored the need to establish a clear agreement on how to allocate any future grants or loans that Somalia may receive as a result of debt relief. “What we suggest is for Somalia to reach an agreement first, and let the laws—contested laws—be laws that we all agree on and are built on consensus. Only then can we talk about debt relief,” Dhabancad explained.
The minister’s comments highlight a significant challenge for Somalia, a nation navigating the intricacies of federal system governance. An issue of particular concern is tariff disparity among the states—a uniform tariff rate, some argue, could disproportionately benefit the capital due to its economic muscle.
In this context, Dhabancad’s statement serves as a reminder that true consensus among Somalia’s diverse regions and states is vital for any meaningful progress towards economic stability and nation-building