Somali embassy staff blame Minister for late payments

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Mogadishu (UM) – Somali Embassy staff and Ministry officials who spoke to UM on the condition of anonymity blamed the Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad for their late payment. This comes on the back of the Foreign Minister’s claim that his staff are not paid and his Ministry receives little financial assistance in the Upper House hearing this week.

Somali Embassy staff interviewed said that the Minister had taken too long to internal complete reforms which saw many new Directors appointed. They also said that now Diplomats are paid into their accounts directly but it is not clear who is a diplomat and Ministry staff because of the many political appointments to the Embassies by the Minister.

“Minister Awad has made some important changes but they have not been effective because of the people he appointed. His decision making is slow and misguided,” said one of the Somali diplomats interviewed.

“The person opening of accounts for Embassy staff and verification of Staff members took time. The staffing issue is still not resolved either because there are more people in every Embassy than are ever needed,” said another diplomat. “The Ministry leadership are good at starting new things but they never finish it. They are also more worried about their travel expenses than the Ministry and Embassy financing from my experience.”

All interviewed agreed that Foreign Policy was prioritised by the federal Government which is still heavily dependent on donors but they felt that the Ministry leadership had not shown much care about their situation in the past.

“When the Minister goes abroad the Embassies tell him their issues but he does not seem to listen preferring to lecture us on small things. We Don’t need a lecture we want him to find more resources to support the Embassy,” said veteran Somali diplomat who did not want to be named. “Minister Awad and his State Minister just want to travel like it is a holiday. They need to stay home more and fix the Ministry issues.”

“I have never seen the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this dysfunctional and demoralised. Everyone has given up because of poor leadership and no guidance and poor pay which is always late,” said another diplomat. “Embassy payments were always late and sometimes we only got paid maximum for 6 months but now we are getting paid into accounts. What is wrong is the administration of the funds at the Ministry and over payment of friends and cousins to embassies.”

“Minister Awad should stop complaining about embassy staff payments because he is doing little to reform embassies. He is signing money for embassies which are supported by the host country or make alot if money from services which they don’t share with the Federal Government and not paying attention to those diplomats who have nothing,” said another interviewee.

“We know money is tight and needs are great but the Ministry is the problem because they never process anything on time,” added another Ministry employee. “The Ministry of Finance is also not sympathetic because the truth is many Ambassadors are stationed in Mogadishu and not even at their post. Minister Awad must see many of them around his hotel and government offices. If they are not working why will they be a priority for pay? The Ministry needs real leadership.”

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