A lot of things are waiting for the new cabinet ministers approved by the House of Representatives and sworn in by Somaliland’s Chief of Justice this month.
Somaliland legislators approved the 32 ministers nominated by the new government of President Bihi. With the approval of the parliament, the new ministers can now start working officially.
There are several political, economic and social challenges awaiting the cabinet which took an oath of the office at the Presidential palace in Hargeisa.
The most pressing matters to be faced by the ministers include inflation, poverty, poor healthcare, education, corruption, lack of water in Hargeisa, and tremendous youth unemployment, which are all threats to social stability and peace.
These complex problems will challenge the success of the first 120 target days for the government to start winning the people’s trust.
It seems that the government is facing financial crisis with the decline of Somaliland Shilling exchange rates against dollar.
According to ministerial decree sent to all government institutions by the new finance minister, Mr. Yusuf Mohamed Abdi, stated that 70% of all expenses for the new government have been suspended until the new government budget is approved.
This is going to be the first challenge for the cabinet to perform their operations well, since a month and half already left following the inauguration of the new president, Muse Bihi Abdi in the country.
The financial challenges have already impacted government employees’ salaries and incentives since the inflation in the money exchange has not been solved yet according to the government promises amid the inflation is still soaring to the sky and had made the matters worse.
Life is very complicated for the people because of the exchange rates. The government employees have also been affected by the exchange rate as they are receiving their salaries in Somaliland shillings.
I have observed that the current exchange rate of 1 dollar is above 10,000 Somaliland shillings which is the highest rate ever.
On the other hand, the new government’s top priority should be security and securing the borders of Somaliland since the country reclaimed its independence from Somalia. The government is elected to defend the country from any enemy at any cost.
The cabinet is trained on their duties and responsibilities as well as the function for their ministries to afford any misleading and job-conflict which was a serious issue paralyzed the former administration.
I call for the new government to quickly approve the national budget for 2018 and try to come up with a national strategy for Somaliland youth employment, which can be a threat to the security.
Undertaking all these matters is the responsibility of the cabinet. However if the new budget is not adopted quickly, all those things will end up in smoke. The ministry of finance should hastily submit the annual budget to the cabinet and to the House of Representatives in order to enable the cabinet to work effectively.