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SOMALIA: Weekly Press Conference on the Progress of the Government

Storyline:National News

DhuxulowH.E. Mustafa Duhulow today addressed the media in Mogadishu providing an update on the progress of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) over the last week. The Minister provided details on various issues such as: Scholarships to Somali students, Federal Government’s proactive efforts to reconcile communities in Hiiraan Region, Parliament’s recess, the agreement between telecom companies, successes of Military operations, the progress on the judicial reform, the progress on public finance management, the public execution to terrorists and Ramadan & Eid Appeal.

Minister of Information began by informing on how students could obtain scholarships: “Ministry of Higher Education published this week the process in awarding scholarships abroad to Somali students. An Independent committee composed of civil society groups and in particular experts on education was set up to award students according to their academic achievements. All interested students will have to take an exam and those with highest marks will be awarded to scholarships. The Federal Government is committed that the process be perceived and seen as transparent and accountable. Our allies and friends grant scholarships to Somali students, such as Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, China, India and Russia and we would like to thank them and ask others to follow suit, as education is very important to the peace-building of the country.”

Minister for Information followed by highlighting the on-going government’s efforts to reconcile communities in Hiiraan region: “Deputy Ministers of Interior H.E. Abdirahman Bankah and Commerce H.E. Abdirahman Abdi Aden have been visiting Beledweyn for the past week in order to reconcile communities and to stop conflicts in the area. Ministers had meetings with key stakeholders in Hiiraan Region including traditional elders and other segments of the society in order to convey government policy and plans on reconciliation. Government’s policy to end conflicts is to reconcile communities and provide opportunities to find genuine reconciliation through peaceful means. The delegation also visited military camps in the area including AMISOM and Somali National Army camps, and commended the important role of military not only in the operations but also providing basic services to the people in the area.”

Minister for Information confirmed the Parliament is now in recess: “22nd of July 2014 the parliament had its last session and H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Somalia made speech at the parliament. The President praised the bravery of parliamentarians and their valuable work during the 4th session and the last two years. The President asked parliamentarians to redouble their efforts when they return to work in order to ensure that we hold elections by 2016. The parliament is the mother institution in Somalia and it plays very important as part of this country’s peace-building process. During the last two years parliament worked very hard and earned the confidence of the people.”

Minister of Information applauded the telecom companies’ agreement: “Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications has been conducting consultation process with telecom companies in order to provide quality services to the people. As a result of this, telecom companies made historic agreement to work partnership and to allow networks to call each other. This will hugely help poor people as most of the people cannot afford to buy and use three phones. This agreement will help people to call all networks from one phone (which is not the case at the moment). This agreement will help companies to work together which in turn will bring healthy competition and will provide affordable and quality services to the people.”

Minister of Information praised the military for their successful operations: “Somali National Army and AMISOM forces made significant gains in parts of South and Central Somalia during last couple of weeks, such as Buule Burte district in Hiiraan region, Bardale district in Bay region and parts of Bakol region. Security forces captured new territories as well as defended well from Al-Shabaab attacks and as a result killed a number of militias from terrorists group. SNA and AMISOM’s plans have always been to ensure that terrorists will not recapture territories, which they have successfully managed preventing their return to liberated areas. There have been continues attempts from Al-Shabaab to re-launch offensives without success or gaining an inch of liberated areas. The government is committed to continue military offenses against terrorists as well as ensuring to stabilize in liberated areas in order to stop threats from terrorists, which in turn could lead us to peace and prosperity in the country.”

Minister of Information spoke the progress of the Judicial Reform: “Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs briefed the cabinet on 24 July 2014 on the progress of the Judicial Reform and the need to appoint the Attorney General. The cabinet unanimously approved the appointment of Mr Ahmed Ali Dahir as the new Attorney General while dismissing the former Attorney General. The new Attorney General has a wealthy of knowledge and experience on justice and Somali judicial system. This is a huge step towards the implementation of the judicial reform in the country following the parliament’s approval of the Judicial Service Commission’s legislation. The Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs is in the process of implementing judicial review and reform as part of the new beginning of Somalia.”

Minister of Information applauded the progress towards public finance management: “On 23rd July 2014 H.E. Hussein Abdi Halane, Minister of Finance highlighted significant steps taken to improve management of Somalia’s public finances. Procurement Amendment Bill and Audit Bill, both bills have been endorsed by the Council of Ministers and have been submitted to Parliament for approval. Financial statements have been prepared by the Central Bank of Somalia and the Ministry of Finance, which demonstrate transparency and a basis for good governance of the institutions. The Financial Governance Committee oversees implementation of the Financial Governance Program (FGP).

The FGP is designed to strengthen public finance and central bank management and provide independent advice in key areas related to financial governance. The FGP thereby complements and strengthens efforts to build robust public finance management systems. The program addresses the creation of a well-governed, functional Central Bank, the establishment of sound public revenue and expenditure management, the establishment of orderly public procurement and concession processes, and the effective and transparent repatriation of national assets. This progress report is now available at:

“The Financial Governance Committee (FGC) meets regularly in Mogadishu to monitor the overall progress of Somalia’s Financial Governance Program and advise the government on critical issues and areas of financial governance. The Committee is comprised of five members and one observer (from the IMF). Members include the Minister of Finance (Chair), H.E. Hussein Halane; the new Governor of the Central Bank, H.E. Bashir Issa; the President’s Senior Policy Adviser, Awes Hagi; the World Bank’s designated representative, Nigel Roberts; the African Development Bank’s designated representative, Ellias Ngalande; and the IMF’s designated observer, Ake Lonnberg.”

Minister of Information explained the justice process leading to the public executions of terrorists: “24th July 2014 the military court publicly executed four members of Al-Shabaab after the court sentenced them to death. On 15th July 2014 the court also publicly executed 2 members of the terrorists group in Mogadishu. It is the government’s policy to have zero tolerance on those who kill innocent people and terrorists. To execute court’s decision is part of government’s policy to bring peace and stability in the country. However, it is very sad to learn that terrorists continue to terrorize people and to recruit child soldiers into their ranks. On 23 July the terrorists without due process publicly killed 13 year old girl and then cut her throat in public, which is clearly against the Islam. Islam doesn’t allow children to be harmed in anyway. This is their pure propaganda to terrorize people and their lack of respect to citizens.”

Minister of Information finally spoke of community support as we reach the end of Ramadan and Eid festivals: “Once again I would like to appeal to all that we need to support those who cannot afford to buy Eid clothing and food during Eid festival which is in the next couple of days. As we are in final days of Ramadan lets us please support each other out, so that all of us including our children can celebrate during Eid festivals with pride and dignity. As we are in our final days of Ramadan, let us reflect the last 4 weeks and let us pray Allah for forgiveness and to bring our unity of purpose back. Let usuall work together towards peace-building in the country. Somalia is for Somalis.”