Let the best lead the Central Bank – UM

Somali Central Bank instructed all private banks to close Foreign Exchange company accounts because non of them had a licence. Photo/Google

Mogadishu (UM) – Finally, after much screaming and shouting the majority in the Federal Parliament have accepted the changes proposed to the Central Bank Act which will now allow any qualified person to lead it. Until yesterday, the Governor could only have been a Somali national. This decision is both historic and practical. The Parliamentarians who voted for it should be congratulated and those who opposed on the grounds of false nationalism should be remembered. There is no national interest in appointing any key government official under a 4.5 clan system, especially, now that financial reforms are starting taking off.

The Ministry of Finance under the leadership of Minister Beileh has finally cut the umbilicord between clan and the Central Bank Governorship by posting the advert for a new Governor in the globally renown Economist magazine last year. Many argued it cost too much but it is a small prize to pay to get the right leader to take Somalia’s financial system and economy forward. It is amazing how many in power in Somalia try to protect their narrow interests with fake nationalism and ourcrys of moral outrage but the reality is they cannot stop reforms the same way they cannot block the rising sun with their hands. The Somali people need change, hope, jobs and a future: a qualified Central Bank Governor will help with these. What has clan or the fake Somalinimo that is so cheaply betrayed and sold by the same politicians that pretend to protect it in Parliament done for the Somali people? They are behind their peers in every way and regressing because of insecurity and ego-driven broken politics. Change is a must!

Senior sources at the Ministry of Finance have informed UM that the second round of interviews for the position of the Central Bank Governor will start at the end of this month. The shortlisted include some qualified foreigners who have come through a rigorous system of application and interviews. There are also qualified Somali candidates but in the end, the best will be recruited. This is how it happens everywhere else. The Bank of England, one of the oldest and most prestigious Central Bank’s internationally is governed by a Canadian. He has help to steer Britain through difficult financial challenges. Many nations use experts to run public institutions to reach their national goals. So, why in Somalia, a country which lives mainly on international aid with a population scattered everywhere across the world so discriminatory?

The public are no fools: the President is Somali American, Prime Minister is Norwegian, half of the Cabinet and Parliament are Diaspora, including, some that were screaming yesterday in opposition. So what is a the issue with a qualified foreigner running the Central Bank? In an interview with a VOA Somali service, the former governor of the Central Bank of Somalia Dr. Abdusalam Omer, himself Somali-American, made clear that the Somali Parliament has made the right decision to amend the Central Bank Act to allow the most qualified to run it.

The Central Bank of Somalia is independent and needs urgent reforms to function properly. No currency will be printed without organisational reform at the Bank. No national and international bank will take it seriously given its current weaknesses and under capacity. Wthout reforming the Central Bank debt relief will not be possible.

The issue with reforms in Somalia is that nobody is serious about it. The Prime Minister is yet to appoint Ministry Directors on merit despite his promise almost two years ago. Ambassadors are still mainly embarrasing political appointees and Ministers and senior officials are still given roles from a roster of friends and family members. This is a complete failure which is hurting the Somali people. Perhaps, with a qualified and worthy Central Bank Governor, whatever their nationality, this government can have the courage to fulfil its institutional reform promises. Let the best lead the Central Bank. Let the best lead all Somali institutions.