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Saudi Arabia hands Somalia $50m grant amid Gulf Crisis fall out

Storyline:National News
President Mohamed Farmaajo (R) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz  pose for a photo shot during Farmaajo’s visit last week. Photo: Vila Somalia

President Mohamed Farmaajo’s visit to Saudi Arabia in the midst of a domestic political crisis over the Gulf Crisis paid off with a $50 million grant from the Kingdom, the government announced Tuesday.

Information Minister Abdirahman Yarisow said in a statement quoting the Prime Minister Saudi Arabia extended the grant to support the country’s recurrent expenditure which include civil servants pay, food rations and salaries for the military.

“We sincerely thank Saudi Arabia for this generous donation of $ 50 million to serve the Somali people, showing how the country of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is interested in participating in rebuilding our country,” Prime Minister Hassan Khaire said.

The grant follows President Farmaajo’s two days visit to Saudi Arabia last week, the second such official visit since he came to office in February. During the visit, the Presidency said the leaders of both countries ‘held fruitful talks to strengthen ties’.

Regional administrations have been at loggerheads with Villa Somalia over what they termed as attempts to eject Galmudug president Ahmed Haaf following his move to side to side with Saudi Arabia and UAE in ongoing Gulf Crisis.

Galmudug, Puntland and South West states have all broken ranks with the Federal Government’s neutral stand to support Saudi Arabia.

Leaders of the three administrations have all in the past two months been in Abu Dhabi a close ally of Riyadh in the Gulf feud.

The government said the funds will be deposited at the Central Bank and will be expended in a transparent and accountable manner. The Federal Government, the statement read will provide comprehensive report on how the money will be spent.

In its 2017 national budget June, Finance Ministry opted out of $5 million vote from Saudi Arabia which it provisionally entered in the budget April submitted to the House. In the April Budget, the finance minister Abdirahman Beyle had factored in $5 million from Saudi Arabia which was a decrease 75% ($15 million) from last year’s $20 million.