Friday, July 29, 2011

Dear Somaliland Government, enough of the visits, photo ops and meetings.............

Dear Somaliland Government, enough of the visits, photo ops and meetings with donors. We want a fully functioning Government!

It's been a year. A year of progress. A year of stability. A year of making the right moves on the international diplomatic front. The government of Somaliland has made progress no doubt in terms of forwarding the case for independence. They have made the right noises at the right times to the right people. This has been done through well coordinated meetings and a PR machine that is punching above its weight. I say well done.

In contrast, the internal functions of government are yet to be reviewed and improved. From the outside, it seems as though there is no urgency to introduce and implement internal procedures that will improve the government's functionality and provide a medium for the public clarifying what needs to be done when requiring government approval. There is no readily available information for someone who wishes to set up a business for example. The importance of such information being readily available to citizens isn't even on the radar.

In addition, the internal government communication system is non existent. Ministers and government officials are still using personal email addresses. Why hasn't the government installed a basic IT system for its internal communications? Why isn't there any information on the structure of each ministry (who is under the Minister, what are their responsibilities are and what the organisational structure is?) and how does one register ownership of a house or a car?

These are just examples I've become aware of. On top that, there are a number of draft laws waiting to be debated in parliament. These laws include much needed regulatory frameworks and procurement procedures designed to ensure compliance and transparency.

I fully understand these things may take time to implement however, from personal observations and having visited a number of Government departments, it seems as though the Somaliland Government is lacking the urgency to implement these measures and have convinced themselves everything depends on international recognition and UN Capacity Building.

Such measures are not difficult to implement and by no means require any additional funding or other parties to coordinate. It is basic stuff expected of a competent government to put in place for their civilians. So, Somaliland Government, please take the necessary steps to provide the right services for the citizens of Somaliland who should be your priority.

Ibrahim Ahmed

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