Mogadishu (UM) – The Somali Federal Cabinet endorsed the $340 million national budget in a special session this week. Many hailed the continuing rise of the budget under this government and credit the Ministry of Finance with better collection of taxes. The 2019 budget is made up of both domestically generated revenue and Grants, including from the EU and donors through the World Bank. While many interviewed by UM welcomed the 24% rise in the budget most were frustrated that it is not enough to create any new public sector jobs.
“I have been working with the government earning a stipend and I was hoping to become a full time civil servant this year but there is still a recruitment freeze,” said a federal government ministry worker who did not want to be named. “Revenue is rising but it is just not enough to take new staff and the private sector is not creating enough jobs.”
“The budget is better this year but it will create no jobs for us graduates who were promised employment by the government,” said Ahmed Farah, a public administration graduate. “This budget should have helped me and my fellow students find work but we will just have to wait. I am really sad about this.”
Many interviewed felt that the government was too slow in dealing with the issues with the Federal federal member states so that taxes can be collected nationally. Currently, the entire domestic revenue in the budget comes from Mogadishu.
“We need to expand the tax base so that the budget can increase and jobs can be created,” said Mohamed Omar, an economist. “Mogadishu cannot support the whole of Somalia’s budget which the Federal Member states also have a share of despite not reporting their own income. This is not sustainable.”
“Everybody from everywhere in Somalia is looking for work in Mogadishu but where are the jobs? The federal member states issue is hurting national income and spoiling our chances of getting a job,” said Nura Bashe, a job seeker. “All across Somalia the problem is unemployment across all ages.”
Most interviewed stated that jobs and opportunities were central to security and development in Somalia. They all agreed that finding a job in both public and private sector was still dependent on clan links and nepotism.
Some business community members who were approached by UM for comment said that the environment for investment was still weak because of insecurity and weak laws and their enforcement.
“If the government wants to great jobs it must fix the security, improve skills and training opportunities and be united itself,” said Abdi Boss Habir, a trader in Mogadishu. “Unemployment is hurting the majority of the population and without government leadership nothing will change.”