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SOMALILAND: HOW CAN WE DEVELOP OUR COUNTRY? PART 4
April 3, 2016 - Written by Hangool News

somaliland

We can justly take pride in the fact that since the rebirth of Somaliland Republic in 1991 we have been able, with our efforts, to build the foundations of a modern economy and record acceleration in the rate of economic growth. There have been impressive gains in terms of the educational and health status of the nation. However, the benefits of this performance have not touched all our citizens in equal measure. Growth is not an end in itself. It is a means to generate employment, banish poverty, hunger and homelessness and improve the standard of living of the mass of our people. It must also be environmentally sustainable.

Equity and efficiency are complimentary, not contradictory, and we must move forward on both these while maintaining a high degree of fiscal and financial discipline, and a robust external economic profile.

To be able to devote our attention and energy to economic development that improves the lives of our people, we must ensure social and political stability, communal harmony and respect for the rule of law. We must put in place policies and programs which empower all our citizens to lead a life of dignity and self-respect.

Economic reform is not only about freeing private enterprise from the shackles of bureaucratic control. It is also about making the government more effective, efficient and people friendly so that it can handle better the many tasks that only Governments can perform. And, it is also about ensuring fair and transparent regulation of the market where this is necessary. While many in our country are benefiting from their integration into the market and the global economy, around a million of our citizens are still plagued by illiteracy, disease, want, hunger and malnutrition.

Chronic poverty afflicts hundreds who lack income and food security. At a regional level, too, the disparities are high and while some regions of the country seem to be on an accelerating growth path, there is a concern that other regions are not only lagging but are also falling behind. Regrettably, the region of Sool and eastern parts of Sanaag suffer from not only economic insecurity but also a sense of marginalization from political and governance processes. However, I am honestly convinced that the government, at many level, is today not adequately equipped and attuned to deal with this challenge and meet the aspirations of the people. To be able to do so, we require the reform of government and of public institutions. Much of the focus of economic reforms in the past decade has been on reducing the role of the government in controlling the Private Sector; controls that hampered entrepreneurial dynamism and often bred corruption. This was necessary. Yet, there are many areas, critical areas that directly affect the quality of life of every citizen, where the government has a role, and is expected by every citizen to have a role. These include the provision of social and physical infrastructure for development, the provision of elementary education and public health, providing drinking water and sanitation. They also include economic infrastructure which in our country in large part must be

provided by the Government such as irrigation, power and roads. Our people expect the government to be pro-active and sensitive to their needs. In each of these areas, at every level of governance, the reform of government is today an urgent task before our government.

The government can pursue economic reform and widen the space for individual initiative and enterprise, but even as they do so, they cannot forsake the obligation of running a government that works, and works for the people. The reform of administration and of public institutions to improve efficiency and the quality of delivery services should be the immediate priority.

Thanks for reading,

Abdi Halim M. Musa

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