March 2, 2018 | Morning Headlines

Main Story

Bakara Market Tax Row Led The Government To Lose Revenue, Finance Minister Says

01 March – Source: Hiiraan Online – 292 Words

The five percent sales tax row between the government and the traders in Somalia’s largest open-air market has led to serious economic implications for the battered tax revenue collection system, the country’s finance ministry said. In a press conference, Finance minister, Abdirahman Duale Beileh said the tax collection campaign has been disrupted by the outrage of the traders who boycotted the levy. “The dispute caused by the sales tax has led the government to collect less revenue this month ( February), but we are planning to pay the salaries ( government workers), we have already signed much of the pay receipts,” said the minister.

In mid-February, traders in Bakara Market boycotted trade over the introduction of a 5% sales tax on all goods sold and services rendered. The traders have vowed to keep the market closed until the government eliminates the tax altogether. The local business community has reportedly refused to offload their goods from Mogadishu’s port in protest of the levy. The decision to introduce the sales tax have pitted the cash-strapped Somali government against the business community who are pushing back against what they see as unfair taxation. Beileh pointed out that there was still hope for further negotiation between the sides.

He has maintained that taxes must be paid to enable the government to offer services. ” We are still in negotiation about this issue but every citizen and every business should pay the tax to the government.”. Somalia was able to generate an extra $31 million in domestic revenue in 2017. Some of the extra funds were raised by collecting taxes from airlines and major telecommunications companies. If Somalia can become self-sufficient, it may be able to receive international debt relief on the nearly $5.2 billion it owes to creditors.

Key Headlines

  • Bakara Market Tax Row Led The Government To Lose Revenue Finance Minister Says (Hiiraan Online)
  • Car Bomb Hits Security Checkpoint Near Mogadishu (Garowe Online)
  • Mogadishu Local Government Launches Cleaning Campaign (Hiiraan Online)
  • Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Militants Shoot Donkeys As Part of Economic War (VOA)
  • Ethiopia To Join Somaliland UAE Port Development Venture (Al Jazeera)
  • AMISOM Heads Meet Amid Security Concerns About Somalia (VOA)


Car Bomb Hits Security Checkpoint Near Mogadishu

01 March – Source: Garowe Online – 191 Words

A Somali police officer says a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at a security checkpoint near Mogadishu, the Somali capital on Thursday morning. Capt. Ahmed Hassan confirmed to Garowe Online that the car bomb went off as the security forces were searching cars at the checkpoint in Siinka Dheer area, which lies about 15 kilometers northwest of the capital.

At least two people, including the bomber died in the blast, while several others were injured and transported to the medical facilities in Mogadishu for treatment, according to Hassan. The death toll is expected to rise as some of the wounded are in critical condition, he added. The Al-Qaeda linked group Al-Shabaab has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it has killed and wounded more than 20 Somali Intelligence soldiers. Somali Federal Government is yet to comment on the car bomb attack, which was the latest in a series of recent terror strikes in the capital by the extremist group. Last Friday, at least 45 people were killed and scores injured in twin car bombings targeting the heavily fortified Presidential Palace and the Somalia’s Intelligence Agency NISA headquarters in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu Local Government Launches Cleaning Campaign

01 March – Source: Hiiraan Online – 257 Words

Mogadishu’s local government has launched a week-long campaign to clean up the city. The campaign was initiated by Mogadishu’s districts’  in partnership with the local government. Mogadishu mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman said the campaign to clean up the city will be participated by hundreds of volunteers including women, youth, civil servants and other civil society organisations. “The campaign will play very important role in the process to beautify the city. It is a good start, we called upon the people of Mogadishu to take part in the cleaning campaign. You should never wait for someone to clean your house for you,” Osman said.

The first phase of the city clean up will mainly focus on cleaning up Shibis, Warta-Nabadda, Shangani and Bondhere districts. The move is part of the larger government efforts to encourage the locals to take part in rebuilding and beautifying the capital.

On Wednesday the Mayor tweeted “My vision is a clean and beautiful city where tourists are enticed to come here because of the safety and cleanliness of our capital, with a quality of life that is of the highest standards.” Mogadishu lies on a stretch of one of the most coveted coastlines in the world. Long described as “The White Pearl of the Indian Ocean”, it’s white sands, crystal temperate waters and tall palm trees have attracted tourists the world over for centuries. However, since the total collapse of government nearly three decades ago, lack of service providers and scarce government resources created a gap in basic service delivery, including garbage collection.


Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Militants Shoot Donkeys As Part of Economic War

01 March – Source: Voice of America – 201 Words

Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia have shot and killed nine donkeys they said were transporting goods to a government-controlled area in the Bakool region. A security source told VOA Somali the militants seized the donkey carts early Wednesday near the village of Elboon, 15 kilometers west of Wajid. The militants shot the donkeys and abducted two people who were escorting the carts, sources say. Their fate is not known.

A resident in Wajid town who did not want to be named for security reasons told VOA that militants set fire to the goods and carts. The donkey carts were carrying sugar, rice and flour to Wajid, residents say. Al-Shabaab has imposed a siege on several towns controlled by Somali government and African Union forces in an effort to force residents to vacate towns as part of their economic war. Wajid was seized by AU and Somali troops in March 2014. The only way to transport goods to Wajid and several other towns has been to use donkey-carts to smuggle items. The Somali government and African Union Mission (AMISOM) have vowed to end the siege, but several towns in Bakool, Bay, Hiran, Galguduud and Hiran regions continue to be surrounded by the militants.


Ethiopia To Join Somaliland, UAE Port Development Venture

01 March – Source: Aljazeera – 180 Words

Dubai’s state-owned DP World said on Thursday the Ethiopian government had taken a 19 percent stake in Somaliland’s Port of Berbera. The port operator said it would retain a 51 percent stake in the port and that Somaliland would retain 30 percent. DP World took a 65 percent stake in the port in 2016 as part of a joint venture with the government of Somaliland under a 30-year concession.

Financial details were not disclosed but the statement said the Ethiopian government would invest to develop the Berbera Corridor, a road from the border with Ethiopia to Berbera. DP World said in 2016 as much as $442m would be invested to develop the port. Somaliland’s small port exports camels to the Middle East and imports food and other items. It also provides some transport links for neighbouring Ethiopia, a landlocked country that has friendly relations with the breakaway region. Thursday’s deal with Ethiopia comes a week after neighbouring Djibouti ended its contract with DP World to run its Doraleh Container Terminal. The port operator has called the move an illegal seizure.


“Smail Chergui, the African Union commissioner for peace and security, notes that resource concerns could sink the fight against Al-Shabaab. “More broadly, AMISOM will need to continue to enhance its operational effectiveness,” said Chergui.

AMISOM Heads Meet Amid Security Concerns About Somalia

01 March – Source: Voice of America – 359 Words

Officials from countries that contribute to AMISOM, the African Union force in Somalia, are meeting this week in Uganda to discuss a transitional security plan for the troubled country. While AMISOM has made gains in Somalia, the risks still presented by militant group al-Shabab remain vivid due to inadequate funding and troop numbers.

Over the past few years, AMISOM has pushed al-Shabab away from major cities, and the federal government of Somalia has taken steps toward stability. With foreign help, the Somali security forces have grown stronger, and political leaders are aiming to hold nationwide elections in 2020.
These gains, however, are being undermined by inadequate troop numbers and lack of predictable and sustainable funding to fight al-Shabab and a small faction of Islamic State fighters in the north.

The five AMISOM countries are planning to start a drawdown of their troops in Somalia this year, and withdraw all of them by the end of 2020. Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa says it is essential that the Somali government intensify its effort to provide security for its people. “It is crucial that the drawdown of AMISOM is synchronized with a corresponding strengthening of Somali security forces,” said Kutesa. “The failure to carefully manage this process could imperil the political and security gains already made.”

The ministers and defense officials meeting in Kampala say Somalis also have to make progress in settling internal political disputes, including tensions among clans and the periodic clashes between the forces of Puntland and Somaliland. These are political issues that AMISOM has no mandate to handle yet they stand to undermine the little peace and stability already gained. The troop contributing countries are also seeking support from key financial institutions such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.


The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of AMISOM, and neither does their inclusion in the bulletin/website constitute an endorsement by AMISOM.