07 March – Source: Daily Nation, Kenya – 375 Words
The commander of the US forces in Africa on Wednesday said Somalia’s president is trying to force Al-Shabaab to negotiate a political settlement. “Somalis are going to need to decide for themselves what the arrangement will be at the end of the day,” General Thomas Waldhauser, head of the US Africa Command (Africom), told members of Congress. He said Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known as Farmajo, is aiming to “beat back Al-Shabaab to the point where defections, especially of leadership, become the order of the day and some type of negotiated settlement with the federal government probably takes place”.
Most insurgencies end in such a manner, Gen Walhauser noted in an exchange with the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee. But an Africom “posture statement” submitted to the US Congress on Tuesday notes in regard to Somalia that “while some high-profile defections have occurred, only a small number of fighters have actually defected”.
Gen Waldhauser counseled patience as intensified US firepower is combined with gradually heightened effectiveness on the part of Somalia’s federal government.
- Africa Shoulders Hefty Burden Of War Against Shabaab (Daily Nation Kenya)
- Somalia Petitions Arab League Over Berbera Port Deal (Goobjoog News)
- Somali Regional Minister MP & 3 Others Killed In Lower Shabelle Blast (Radio Dalsan)
- Somalia Seeking To Enforce Tax Regime With International Support (Global Tax News)
- First Hospital Brings Relief To Pregnant Women And Other Patients In Southern Mudug Town (Radio Ergo)
Somalia Petitions Arab League Over Berbera Port Deal
07 March – Source: Goobjoog News – 300 Words
Somalia has sought the intervention of the Arab League over the controversial Berbera Port Agreement which Somaliland and the Emirati ports operator DP World have maintained has nothing to do with Mogadishu. A letter seen by Goobjoog News and confirmed by a diplomatic source who sought anonymity makes mention of the recently signed agreement between Somaliland and DP World granting Ethiopia 19% stake in the Berbera Port concession. “The Federal Government has indicated it is not party to the agreement and neither did it authorize any party to take part in the agreement,” the letter reads in part.
The letter sent by representatives of Somalia to the Arab League also notes the agreement is tantamount to interfering in the internal affairs of Somalia and runs counter to the unity of Somalia. The letter which seeks the attention of the council of ministers of the Arab League meeting comes amid a spat between the Federal Government and Somaliland with the latter shrugging off dismissal of the deal as null and void by Mogadishu. DP World has also told off Mogadishu noting Somaliland is an independent country capable of entering into such contracts on its own.
The agreement was signed by officials with no authority granting the port to parties which have no right to, the letter notes. We will be submitting a resolution compelling member states, the letter reads. DP World announced Sunday it signed the last agreement which involves the construction of 12 square kilometre of a greenfield economic free zone in Somaliland to complement the growth of the Port of Berbera. The project is also modelled on DP World’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai and aims to attract investments, encourage trade, create new jobs and position Berbera as a gateway port for the region, DP World said in statement.
Somali Regional Minister, MP & 3 Others Killed In Lower Shabelle Blast
07 March – Source: Radio Dalsan – 186 Words
A roadside explosion on Wednesday evening killed a South West State regional minister, an MP and three others when it hit a vehicle they were travelling between Afgoye and Wanlaweyn town in Lower Shabelle some 90 km from Mogadishu. Regional Minister Abdulkadir Abdirahman Baraf, Hirshabelle MP Ahmed Abdi Farah, two bodyguards and a driver were returning from Balidogle Airport where regional President Sharif Hassan Adan had been touring.
Abdirahman was South West State Minister for Security. The Al-Qaeda linked militant group Al-Shabaab issued a statement to claim responsibility for the attack. Al-Shabaab in the statement claimed Minister Abdirahman and MP Farah were behind a January attack in Jamac Jilyaale where US Special forces and Somalia National Army targeted a school alleged to be indoctrinating children.
At least five people including children were killed in the attack and 30 others released from the school. The Al-Shabaab statement further said that the Minister and MP had met US military officers at Balidogle Airport before the January attack. The group has in the last week intensified attacks on government and Amisom troops in Hirshabelle and South West State.
07 March – Source: Global Tax News – 284 Words
The Government of Somalia has reported on the tax system reform and tax administration improvements it is introducing with support from international agencies. In its yearly consultation with the International Monetary Fund, the Somali authorities said they had implemented a number of key policy measures in 2017. These included concluding discussions with telecommunications companies to pay their tax obligations in line with existing laws, retroactively to October 2017.
Under the agreement, telecommunications companies have started paying sales taxes based on self-reported sales figures, which local authorities will audit to ensure accuracy. Authorities said “the agreement also clarifies that there will be no more negotiated payments of taxes; instead, compliance with the income tax (personal and corporate) law and the sales tax law will be enforced.”
Somalia has also concluded an agreement with an airline for it to pay in full its sales tax and arrival and departure fees. Somali authorities told the IMF: “We are determined to strengthen tax collection. A significant increase in domestic revenue remains an important target under the program. We are pressing ahead with the implementation of the recently agreed-on tax measures as well as improving compliance. We will continue discussions on the harmonization of customs with federal member states and draft a common customs strategy roadmap for Somalia. We expect the large and medium taxpayer office (LMTO) to start enforcing tax compliance with the identified taxpayers in early 2018.”
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“The hospital has four doctors and 12 other staff. It is equipped with an emergency unit, maternity section, blood bank and in-patient ward. Four people’s lives have already been saved by access to the blood bank.”
07 March – Source: Radio Ergo – 501 Words
The first hospital ever to open in Banadiiradley, in southern Mudug region, has been seeing hundreds of patients in its first month of operating. Many would otherwise have died or had to travel on rough roads to the nearest health centre in Galkayo, 75 km away. The hospital was built and is being run as a joint effort by the diaspora and local residents. It has been serving the health needs of the pastoralist communities devastated by the drought.
Everyone in Bandiiradley knows of someone who died in the past due to lack of medical attention, or someone who died on the road trying to get to the nearest hospital. After seven previous births, Leyla Mohamed Abdi is feeling more confident than before as she approaches the birth of her next baby. She plans to deliver her baby in the new hospital, which is close to her house. She said she has access to good pre-natal care and the doctors are constantly monitoring her and her baby.
Last year, she had to travel for urgent treatment for bleeding and malnutrition and spent six days in a hospital in Galkayo. She is now visiting her local hospital every two days. “I have recovered from my general body weakness. They prescribed some medication for me, and I still take it. I am getting better and better every day,” she said. Leyla believes the hospital’s maternity facilities will eliminate some major problems women encounter during childbirth. She is no longer worried about losing blood in the hands of the traditional midwives she used to have to rely on.
Travelling for medical services is something most people in this part of Mudug cannot afford, especially after the ravages of drought. Leyla spent $100 every time she travelled to Galkayo, where the treatment she received was free. She had to borrow the money or ask her relatives. The director of Bandiiradley hospital, Said Abdi Ahmed, told Radio Ergo they had treated 1,244 patients since the doors opened. Patients included young and old with a variety of diseases and conditions, including measles, malnutrition, diarrhoea, animal bites, gunshot wounds, as well as pregnant mothers.
The hospital has four doctors and 12 other staff. It is equipped with an emergency unit, maternity section, blood bank and in-patient ward. Four people’s lives have already been saved by access to the blood bank. Two of Habibo Adan Huurshe’s children were treated at the hospital in the past two weeks. Habibo was glad they did not have to travel as on previous occasions.
Last November she had to hire transport twice, when five children were sick with measles and diarrhoea. She borrowed $120 and still needs to pay $90 back. “The transport has been a constant worry for us and we just could not afford it,” she said. Around 4,000 families will benefit from the hospital services in Bandiiradley and 23 constituent villages. Towards the end of last year, seven children died of measles after failing to get medical attention.