|Somaliland: Legislators Grill Finance Minister on 2013 Budget|
|Sunday, 30 December 2012 01:47|
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Members of parliament have questioned the inclusion of unofficial parastatals in the annual budget.
The minister of finance Mr. Abdiaziz Mohamed Samale has informed the house of representative that his ministry is only responsible for allocating operational funds to public institutions while the head of state and parliament are charged with legalizing them
The minister was responding to questions by members of parliament during their first debate on the 2013 which was submitted to the august house on Wednesday following its unanimous approval by the council of ministers.
The legislators who had complimented the finance ministry for strengthened tax collection and anti-graft measures thus an increase of 17% in the country's annual budget for 2013 wondered why some public bodies like Information & Communication Technology Commission, WFP coordination agency and Quality Control Commission have been included in the annual budget while they are yet to be approved by parliament.
"My ministry is charged with allocation of funds and not establishment of parastatals" said the finance minister
The house of representatives which is the lower chamber of parliament is expected to expedite approval of the $185,714,033 annual budget for the year 2013 before forwarding it to Guurti, the upper chamber of parliament whose approval shall enable disbursement of funds by the finance ministry to target institutions beginning January 2013.
The 2013 budget which is the heftiest since the country reclaimed sovereignty 21 years ago has allocations for novel items included like the cost of security services ranks, health sector, roads and pepping up of the foreign policy.
The budget under debate in the lower house of parliament has allocations as follows:
1. Central Government $125,000,000
2. Parastatals $35,854,545.
3. Local Government $11,854,488
4. Somaliland trust fund (Denmark & Britain) $13,000,000.
On presenting the 2013 budget to the House of Representatives the finance minister justified the figures and allocations as:
• The $125,000,000 allocated central government is targeted towards development of various sectors i.e. Livestock, Fisheries, Agriculture, Roads, Airports, Coast guards and fire fighting equipment, Army Rankings, registration of citizens and issuance of identity cards as well as the production of an E-passport.
• Central Government $125,000,000
• The budget has an emphasis on strengthening national security at all levels of administration as well as creation of employment opportunities with a targeted recruitment of 1,500 civil servants.
• Doubling of funds allocated to the three national parties as a means of enhancing the country's democratization process.
• The 2013 budget has an increase of 17% over the previous budget of 2012 and 150% more than that of the previous governments