“Flabbergasting! Puntland Cabinet Minister Firmly Refutes Claims of Disrupting Somalia’s Imperative Debt Relief Initiative”
On Wednesday May 10, 2023, a wave of perplexity engulfed Mogadishu (AX), as a senior Puntland cabinet minister strongly and categorically denied federal government leaders’ accusations that the region had been undermining Somalia’s debt relief program.
Addressing an incredibly large crowd in Garowe, Puntland’s Minister of Planning, Mohamed Said Faroole, argued that none of the projects that were supposed to be financed by the billions of dollars in loans taken out in Somalia’s name had been implemented in Puntland. Faroole claimed that instead of funding projects for Puntland, the loans were diverted to Mogadishu and Hargeisa, with the current Somali government allegedly misusing some funds.
“We don’t owe any money. The loans that were taken by previous governments were intended for projects. However, Puntland hasn’t received any project from these loans except for two airports in Bosaso and Garowe and a grant provided by Italy,” Faroole said, leaving the crowd in utter amazement.
In a highly bursting manner, Faroole also suggested that the federal government aimed to use the $2 billion in debts to corrupt and destabilize the country, adding that Puntland did not consent to a debt it was not consulted on or previously notified about.
On the other hand, Somali Prime Minister Hamsa Abdi Barre accused Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni of being responsible for any setbacks in Somalia’s debt relief program.
At an event in Mogadishu, Prime Minister Hamsa stressed that the federal government would not accept a failure in the extensive debt forgiveness practice, urging President Deni not to politicize the issue, which left the audience in pure bewilderment.
March 2020 ushered in a new era of hope for Somalia when the country qualified for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative, which allowed the government to significantly diminish its external debt and generate fiscal space for investment in developmental priorities. Subsequently, this past March, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that Somali authorities had reached a staff-level agreement for the fifth review of Somalia’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement.