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The progress of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) over the last week  

Storyline:National News

The Minister of Information, Mustafa Duhulow, today addressed the media, providing an update on the progress of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) over the last week. The Minister discussed various issues: progress on New Deal; the approval of the 2015 budget; the election of the President of South West State; the approval of the legislations on the Boundaries & Federalism Commission and the Independent Electoral Commission; security operations in Jazeera District of Lower Shabelle; and progress in Media Sector Development and Education.

The Minister of Information began by speaking on the progress made on the New Deal for Somalia: “The High Level Partnership Forum (HLPF) took place in Copenhagen on 19-20 November 2014. The President of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and a delegation consisting of Ministers, MPs, representatives of the Regional states and the Governors of the regions attended this historic conference on Somalia.
The aim of the HLPF Copenhagen was to review progress of the New Deal Compact for Somalia (the Somali Compact), which was endorsed in Brussels in September 2013. The HLPF conference was co-chaired by H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Somalia and the United Nations and hosted by the Government of Denmark. The Prime Minister of Denmark opened the conference. Over 140 participants attended from over 58 countries. The Federal Government of Somalia presented a progress report on New Deal including progress made, challenges faced and also the plans related to achieving Vision 2016. A communiqué was issued at the end of the conference that clearly shows huge progress made in Somalia in the last year since the New Deal was launched. Participants expressed their appreciation for the progress made in security, public finance management, the implementation of Federalism, political outreach to regions, and the working partnership between the Federal Government of Somalia and international partners. It was agreed to redouble working partnership efforts between the government, international partners, and regions in Somalia in order to achieve the overall goal of bringing peace and stability in Somalia as well as achieving Vision 2016 goals. Participants agreed to commit to review progress in the areas of politics and security within the next six months.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the approval of 2015 budget: “The Council of Ministers on 18 November 2014 approved the 2015 budget presented by the Ministry of Finance. The budget is the projection of revenue from internal sources and international donations from outside of the country, which is estimated to be US$216 million. Priority was given to security, the salaries of civil servants and soldiers, basic services and development. The 2015 budget is comprehensive in terms of income and expenditure, and incorporates all the measures necessary to ensure transparency and accountability during the process. The Federal Government has been instituting reforms in the public finance management systems and we are confident that we have the right structures in place along with a highly competent staff. The Federal Government is committed to enhancing finance and implementing reforms in order to build the confidence of citizens and the donor community.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the election of the President of South West State: “373 constituent assembly members gathered in Baidoa with a view to forming the Interim South West State of Somalia. On 17 November 2014 the constituent assembly unanimously elected the Hon Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden as the new President of South West State.
This is a major step towards the implementation of Federalism in Somalia, which in turn is one of key pillars of Vision 2016. H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Somalia, welcomed the election of the President of South West and congratulated the Hon Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden on his victory. He urgently called upon all key stakeholders to finalize the remaining details of the process while considering inclusivity and engagement with communities at every level, so that the Administration will be one that can fully represent the interests of the local people. The International Community also hugely welcomed the election and congratulated the new President elect. The US, UK, UN, IGAD, AMISOM and AU and others all issued statements expressing their support. People in the area have been involved in the consultation process for sometime through active reconciliation, outreach to communities and involving the people in deciding their destination. The election in Baidoa will pave the way for other new emerging states by demonstrating that the best way to form an administration is through reconciliation, consultation and compromise. The Federal Government is pleased to see that a process under the leadership of the Federal Government and in line with the provisional constitution has concluded well at such an early stage of the process. We hope that the next phase will be one that meets the expectations of the people in the area as well as across Somalia.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the approval of legislation for the Boundaries & Federalism as well as the Independent Electoral Commissions: “On 18 November 2014 the Council of Ministers approved key election legislation including the legislation on Boundaries & Federalism Commission and the Independent Electoral Commission. The Ministry of Interior & Federal Affairs presented both piece of legislation and after debate and discussion both approved by the cabinet. These are very important steps in the implementation of Federalism and local governance in Somalia as well as in preparing for the election in 2016. Somalia has made huge progress over the last 2 years and it hopes to start the implementation of the democratization process in Somalia so that in 2016 an election can be held, as is the mandate of the current Federal Government of Somalia. The legislation will now be forwarded to the parliament for discussion and debate with a view to ratifying them and the President signing a decree to pass them into law.“

The Minister of Information spoke on security operations at the Jazeera area of Lower Shabelle region: “Security forces conducted operations in the Jazeera area of Lower Shabelle region in response to incidents where the involvement of Al-Shabaab cells is suspected. On 19 November 2014 security forces raided houses in Jazeera and arrested Al-Shabaab members and seized their weapons and equipment. The people in the area welcomed the operation and expressed relief after the security operations. There had been a number of related incidents in the area, which included robbery, illegal checkpoints and the general terrorizing, and intimidation of the people.

The FGS is committed to implementing the Stabilization plan in order to bring peace and stability to the country. Similar operations in Mogadishu proved successful and we hope that lessons from Mogadishu can be implemented in Lower Shabelle region.”

The Minister of Information spoke on Media Sector Development in Somalia: “The Ministry of Information has been working hard on the development of the Somali media sector for some time and I am pleased to have met Tom Malinowski, the US Assistant Secretary of State, on 20 November in Nairobi where we discussed politics and media sector development in Somalia. I am very pleased to see the commitment of our ally and partner, the US, towards the FGS and the people of Somalia. We have agreed to continue our efforts to enhance the media sector in Somalia. Additionally, on 15 and 16 November 2014 we held a two-day dialogue between media sector and security sector in Somalia. The conference or ‘dialogue’ was organised by the Somali Media Support Group (SMSG) and hosted by the Ministry of Information and UNSOM.
Experts from Kenya and Colombia shared their experiences on how those countries resolved frictions between the media and security sector in their respective countries. The aim of the dialogue was to increase the working partnership between the media and security sectors so that both institutions can improve coordination and understanding.
Participants included the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of National Security, the Somali Police force, the intelligence service, private media from the regions, NUSOJ, and SIMHA and international organizations that deal with media sector development such as InterNews, Relief International, IMS and others. I encouraged participants to have a real debate and discussion on key issues that matter to both institutions in order to find ways to address them. Other speakers include the Director of Public Information of UNSOM, the Secretary General of NUSOJ, Mohamed Ibrahim Pakistan, and others.”

The Minister of Information finally spoke on the progress in the education sector: “On 19 November 2014, 200 students (boys and girls) from Abu Hanifa School in Waberi district in Mogadishu received a donation of educational materials from Jubba Money Transfer to help their studies. The Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs was present at the event. Abdulkadir Ali Siad, the Chairman of Jubba Money Transfer in South of Somalia, stated that the aim was to encourage students to go to school, as most of the students were orphans and disadvantaged.
He also said that they would continue supporting students at the school. Mohamed Ali Dahir, the Chairman of SOHEDA, an umbrella group in the education sector, stated that SOHEDA sponsors students of Abu Hanifa School and he was happy to see Jubba Money Transfer donating vital materials that had the potential to change the lives of students. H.E. Yusuf Heile Jimale, the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs stated that he was very pleased to see Jubba Money Transfer providing donations to students and he asked others to follow suit.
The Deputy Minister encouraged other Somali NGOs to understand the importance of Somali led and owned initiatives so that we Somalis can make a difference in the lives of our young future citizens.”