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Weekly Press Conference on the Progress of the Government

Storyline:National News

The Interim Minister of Information, H.E 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: Parliament’s approval of the 2015 budget; improving Good Governance practices; the strengthening of bi-lateral relations between Somalia and Egypt; the killing of one al-Shabaab leader and the surrender of another; a new insurance company opens in Somalia; the liberation of more areas from the control of Al-Shabab; and the approval shown to the Somali National Army by the new PM.

Parliament Unanimously Approves 2015 Budget

The Interim Minister of Information began by speaking on the Parliament’s approval of the 2015 budget: “The Somali Parliament approved the 2015 budget on December 31st, 2014. The Parliament had debated the budget for some time and made various necessary changes prior to its approval. The estimated budget for 2015 is US $239.9 million. 148 MPs voted in favour of the budget, while 9 MPs voted against and 5 MPs abstained.

The Hon Jeylani Nur Icar, the first deputy Speaker of the Parliament who was chairing the session, announced the result, saying that the 2015 budget is approved so it can be implemented soon. H.E. Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, the Interim State Minister of Finance, thanked MPs for their approval and for making the necessary amendments. He commented, ‘The approved budget is detailed, comprehensive and features the necessary degree of transparency and accountability measures.’ ”

Improving Good Governance

The Interim Minister of Information spoke on the strengthening of Good Governance: “The Office of the Auditor General conducted a 3 day seminar (December 27th – 29th, 2014) on Good Governance for the director Generals of FGS Ministries. The aim of the seminar was to strengthen good governance and to stamp out corrupt practices across the country.

The Auditor General, Mr Nur Farah Jimale, stated, ‘My office is committed to strengthening good governance and to stopping all practices that encourage corruption’.

The Federal Government is totally committed to establishing the necessary mechanisms for implementing good governance and fighting corruption.”

Egypt & Somalia Strengthen their Bi-lateral Relations

The Interim Minister of Information spoke on bi-lateral relations between Somalia and Egypt: “H.E. the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, visited Egypt on December 29th 2014 following an official invitation from the President of Egypt, H.E. GeneralAbdifatah Al-Sisi.

Both Presidents enjoyed a fruitful discussion on bi-lateral relations between the two nations in order to revive long historic ties. President Al-Sisi agreed to help Somalia in terms of the capacity building of the Somali National Army and other institutions, as well as Egypt increasing the number of scholarships on offer to Somali students. Egypt has also agreed to lobby the Arab League for assistance in the rebuilding of Somalia, a topic that has been on the table for discussion for years. Both Presidents agreed to establish a technical team from both countries to follow up on all the agreed points. Egypt President praised the efforts of Somali President to bring peace and stability in Somalia.”

One al-Shabab Leader Killed, Another Surrenders to the FGS

H.E. the Interim Minister of Information spoke on the killing of one Al-Shabab leader and the surrender of another: “On December 29th, 2014 a US drone killed the Chief of Intelligence of Al-Shabaab, Abdishakur aka Tahlil. The drone strike took place 25 km south of Saakow town.

Two other members of Al-Shabab were also killed in the strike but their identities are as yet unknown. On the other hand, Zakaria Ismail Hirsi, the former Chief of Intelligence of Al-Shabab whose successor was killed in Monday’s drone strike, surrendered to the Somali National Army and is in the hands of the Federal Government of Somalia. Security forces are questioning him and the FGS will soon issue public statement on the way forward. Zakaria is a high profile figure within Al-Shabab and he is named on the US Rewards for Justice list with a US $3 million bounty on offer for his capture, although he is rumoured to have disagreed with the recent direction of Al-Shabab operations and had been sidelined. H.E. the Minister of Information noted, ‘There are now only two choices for the few remaining members of Al-Shabab – death, but no longer at the time or in the place of their choosing or the chance of reconciliation if they are willing to renounce violence and acknowledge their crimes.”

New Insurance Company Launched in Somalia

The Interim Minister of Information spoke on the launch of a new insurance company in Somalia: “The Federal Government of Somalia hugely welcomes the launch of an insurance company in Somalia for the first time in 24 years.

On December 29th, 2014, the Islamic Insurance Company was launched in Mogadishu by publishing their plans to provide insurance services to public. Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, the Chairperson of the Islamic Insurance Company promised to provide value for money services for the people. He also stated that the insurance company has partnership-working relations with a number of international insurance companies.

The Interim Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation, H.E. Said Jama Ali Qorshel, praised the initiative shown by the business community and called on them to provide value for money services to the people.”

Security Forces Liberate More Territory from Al-Shabab

The Interim Minister of Information spoke on recent security gains: “On December 29th, 2014, FGS security forces seized more territory in Jalalqsi area in Hiran region from Al-Shabab.

Residents in the area warmly welcome the removal of terrorists in the area. Security forces continue to liberate town after town from Al-Shabaab. Taken over areas included Xero Lugoole, located 27km from Fiidow as well as other areas including Jar, Raaxaale, Janbiley, Buurweyn, Miir Gab and Afcad, all in the vicinity of Jalalqsi. The primary aim of the liberation of these villages is to ensure humanitarian assistance can be moved freely from Mogadishu to Bula Burde, where the people of the area are suffering terribly as a result of al-Shabaab’s blocking of food aid, a war crime by any standards. The FGS will continue to provide food aid to newly recovered areas as a top priority.”

The new PM praises Somali National Army (SNA)

The Interim Minister of Information finally spoke on the new PM’s encouragement shown to SNA: “H.E. Omar Sharmarke, the newly appointed Prime Minister of Somalia, visited the Ministry of Defense Headquarters in Mogadishu on December 28th, 2014 and praised the Somali National Army for their bravery shown in the fight against Al-Shabab.

The PM also visited the SNA Hospital to meet with injured soldiers and to hear their stories and their concerns. The Interim Minister of Defense and the Chief of Army forces accompanied the PM.

The PM spoke to officials and soldiers and he praised their efforts in bringing peace and stability to Somalia. The Chief of Army noted that the SNA has undergone a series of reforms, including over 3,000 soldiers being removed from the Army List for not adequately fulfilling their national duties. The PM promised to prioritize

security in Somalia.”