By: Mahmoud Qodah
Hargeisa (Somaliland Monitor) –According to the Chairman of House of Representatives Abdirahman Mohamed Abdilahi (Irro), 63 members out of 66 have voted in favour of the approval of country’s 2017 national budget – which is becoming the 25th budget; since Somaliland reinserted its sovereignty after it had broken its merger with the Former Italian Colony of Somalia in 1991. 2 MPs opposed where there was only one absentia.
Opening the voting session, parliament speaker Abdirahman Irro said all disagreements over the budget should be resolved through voting. “Ministry of Finance submitted 2017 national budget which is 2,175,104,355,622 SL Shilling which is equivalent to $362,517,393. This is an increase of 27.5% from last year’s budget,” Mr. Irro added, “Finally 36 out of 66 members have approved 2017 national budget, as 25 members opposed to approve without debating and scrutinizing.”
Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo in his side, following Parliament’s 2017 national budget approval, issued presidential decree in which he officially allowed the enforcement of the approved financial bill, in order to become applicable in time for the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year.
Despite the fact that Somaliland constitution vested members of the House of Representatives in the full mandate, unfettered and legal powers so that they could initiate financial measure for making amendments, changes, or to introduce their own budget or to rewrite the entire budget proposed by the executive, or if not convinced, to return it back to the ministry of finance, for the first time, this year, Somaliland members of House of Representatives chose for the complete approval of 2017 national budget as it has been tabled by the ministry of finance without even adding the financial scrutiny attachment recommended and suggested by the House’s treasury committee.
Moreover, there were some parliamentarians claiming that they have done this due to timing of the budget as we want to ensure the national budget to be approved in time for the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year.
On the other side, the vote Monday marked a step forward, as the approved financial bill will certainly push through a budget that is badly needed for fiscal planning as Somalialnd’s finances reel from a plunge in country’s severe droughts which largely affected eastern parts of Somaliland and a costly 9 million dollars allocated for the upcoming presidential election which is expected to take place in 8th March of this year.
2017 national budget will also cover a 10% increase in the salary for Civil Servants and Security Forces. It also includes improvement in the infra-structure such as building roads, repairing and digging new wells and boreholes to provide sufficient water for the people and as precautions of repeated droughts.
The 2017 budget allots funds for development projects, job creation, local investment; improving health and encouraging local production are likewise allocated in 2017 national budget. According to Minister of Finance MS. Samsam Abdi Aden,
|5||Income from decentralizationproject||12,722,892,000||2,120,482|