Confounding Conundrum: Does the World Bank Grasp the Enigma of Halting Major Projects in Somalia?
The World Bank has recently halted most of its development projects in Somalia, causing concerns about the country’s future, according to Horn Examiner.
The Bank stated that it lacked trust in the newly appointed Auditor General, Ahmed Isse Gutale, and his alleged lack of experience and skills in auditing and corruption concerns.
The situation has alarmed Somali authorities, who fear that the retention of Gutale could have detrimental effects on their government’s credibility and could ultimately jeopardize collaboration with international financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.
The World Bank’s decision is driven by a lack of trust in Gutale’s abilities, which has cast doubts on the integrity and effectiveness of financial oversight within the country.
The suspension of development projects is likely to have a significant impact on various sectors in Somalia, including infrastructure, education, healthcare, and agriculture.
The appointment of the new Auditor General has also raised concerns regarding the independence of the Office of Auditor General of the Federal Government, posing a risk to the establishment of an independent oversight institution capable of effectively addressing national challenges related to public resources use, accountability, transparency, and anti-corruption measures.
These measures include reducing its external debt of $5.2 billion to approximately $557 million. AFROSAI has further urged the Government of Somalia to guarantee the independence of the Office of the Auditor General through an appropriate process for the appointment and removal of the Auditor General.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has remained concerned about the continued delay to ensure enactment of the 2020 Act of the Office of the Auditor General of Somalia (Audit Bill).