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“As long as income inequality, injustice and poverty persist in our society none of us can truly feel at rest”

“As long as income inequality, injustice and poverty                                                        persist in our society none of us can truly feel at rest”

Income inequality also called Social inequality is the unequal distribution of individual income or individual household across the various levels of the society or various participants in an economy. It refers to disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income in the overall quality and luxury of each person’s existence within a society. It is proved that high income inequality of a nation or in a society has a negative impact in the microeconomic development of that society, and has a negative long-term effect on economic growth. This effect is persistent implying that increasing Inequality may have different negative impacts in the poor sector of a society.

 

 In Somaliland, household income Inequality is among the highest in the region and is increasing year after year at an alarming rate, especially for the last decade. Additionally, inequality in access to basic services such as maternal health care, education, water and shelter were also increasing drastically year after year and are likely to sustain in the same situations in future generations.  Though such situation exists in Somaliland, there were no government interventions, efforts and programs to target and reduce this relatively high inequality rate of income as well as basic services access inequality over these years.

 

The wide gap in wage growth and value between the highest income-earning officers and the lowest income-earning workers in Somaliland is expanding day after day and remains unchecked. For example, the wages of the top government income earners of somaliland (Ministers, Vice-ministers, Mps of the two Houses, Head of Agencies, DGs, Managers, Governors, and the holders of other government honored top posts) were increased in between 400% to 1000%, in the last eight years or Kulmiye’s governing period; with more benefits or other benefits received for holding such posts like luxury & very expensive vehicles, budgets with much lump sum allocations designed to use their authority for private gain and can freely spent for their personal use. On the other hand the wages of the bottom government income earners of Somaliland (the soldiers, the teachers, the common civil servants, the subordinates, the technicians etc) were increased only in between 10% to 20% within the same period.

 

This income inequality is a phenomenon that enriches the government officials; negatively affects the livelihoods of those with lower wages and don’t have the opportunities to advance themselves. The government’s budget allocation structure which seems as a technical assemblage opening for corruption also enriches some private companies, businesses and individuals who obtain a larger share of public benefits. Always the government better-connected individuals, companies and businesses, who belong mostly to high-income groups in the society, receive or accrue the benefits from government corruptions. At the same time, there is a regional budget distribution inequality among the regions of the country. This current budget allocation inequality among the regions is also indirectly increasing the income inequality between the communities in the regions; causing great Economic disparities between the regions of the country.

 

The government’s unfair system of employing citizens based on tribalism, favoritism and illegal preference; that the ministers and head of agencies invite   their relatives and their favored ones  to the vacant posts of the ministries and institutions they lead, accelerates the speed of income inequality among Somaliland society. Unemployment and underemployment to be born into the larger groups of the society; while few favored groups are enjoying with special income advantages and benefits of being employed; are also among the factors that contribute the widening income inequality; causing many people and families live in poverty when they are unable to find a job at all, or to find a job that does not pay a living wage.

 

In Somaliland’s present situation, the privilege of being part of the governing authority, the privilege of accruing the budget benefits and the privilege of being in access to employment opportunities were designed to go together into few groups of Somaliland society. That means, those at the top posts of Kulmiye governments are thinking only about themselves, practicing huge naked selfishness, and not caring the majority common people and those at the bottom of their society. The government nurturing corruption of budget benefits and the partiality in the access to employment distorted the government’s resource allocation responsibility, took a major role in the income inequality among the citizens and widened the range of poverty expansion in our society.

 

Economic Inequality or a wide gap between rich and poor Stifles Growth, increases the un-affordability of food prices, decreases education opportunities and health care availability, tends to reduce law enforcement spending in low-income communities. Therefore economic inequality increases the incentive to commit crimes. A high level of economic inequality means a higher level of poverty. In Somaliland the few rich groups maintain the economy of the country.  And when wealth distribution becomes concentrated in a small number of hands; then the political power tends to become skewed in favor of that small wealthy group compared to the common people and more to the poor citizens.

 

 This high level of economic inequality leads to imbalances in political power; as those at the top use their economic weight to shape our politics in ways that give them more economic power. That is why the high-income groups are always able to manipulate the government functions in their favor through both legal processes and through corrupt practices. And this unequal opportunity to political power increases political hegemony; then initiates political instability and threatens security and property rights among the society.

 

In order to work for the betterment of those of us under relative poverty or even in absolute poverty; those who govern this country should believe in humanism; should think about the groups at the bottom of their society; think about how the poor feel and live; treat them with care and look after by helping them to stand up on their feet. We – the people have to speak out where ever we see the majority poor of our society suffering with inequality or injustice or not caring by their government. All citizens should have an equal chance to survive well in the society. “As long as gross economic inequality, injustice and poverty persist in our society none of us can truly feel at rest”. Nelson Mandela

 

Adam Ali Younis                                                                                                                                                                Email: aayonis@hotmail.com