Oodweyne News - Latest Somali News Update

Interventions needed to alleviate poverty and reduce income inequality in Somaliland

Ex- Secretary of State of the United States of America said in a speech on Poverty, during his tour to Africa “The root cause of poverty is social injustice and the bad government that abets it”. On the previous article we talked about the existence of high income inequality, government budget distribution benefits inequality, access to employment opportunities inequality, the widening gap between the rich few groups and the poor majority of the society and the alarming rate of the poverty increase in Somaliland society; in which the majority of our community is lacking the basic needs for the minimum standard of well-being. We also identified the risks, the negative impacts and the problems that the high income inequality and the increase in poverty may cause to our society.

In this article, the point that deserves to highlight is that the government is solely responsible to intervene the income inequality and economic disparity among our people; to promote equity or fairness in Somaliland society; and to alleviate poverty sufferings. The government neglected to deal with this problem, giving no attention as if the problem does not exist. Moreover, this national dysfunction cannot be solved through the government’s same thinking and system that created the problem. But this problem can be dealt by making a complete reorientation in all aspects of its social governing system.

We are referring herewith some measures or programmes that can be taken to reduce income inequality and poverty expansion in our society; and to prevent them from the risks and problems caused by such economic disparity between the rich and the poor. The application of these measures also will help to raise the living standards of the low income groups of our society and to improve the living conditions of the people who are already poor. Some of the steps that can alleviate Poverty and reduce income inequality if implemented are:


  • In order to reduce Regional inequality of government budget benefits: (a) The government has to introduce a budget policy that redesigns the national budget allocations by introducing regional development support grants for each of the six major regions. (b)The government should formulate budget allocations as by regions through regional convergence. This will be a policy which is completely compatible with the regional decentralization democracy and fair leadership. (c)The government should grant same means to the regions, and even subsidize more to the regions which are currently significantly behind in relation to the other regions. This policy also favors those regions that do not have the means today, so they can have the same development opportunities in the future. (d) Certain percent of these regional allocated funds should be financed for Regional Poverty Alleviation Programmes–to improve living conditions, livelihoods and empowerment among the poor communities in the regions; with particular attention to those who were traditionally rural groups but now in the IDP camps, and other identified urban poor and orphan families.


  • In order to raise the household income earnings of the bottom government employees: (a) The government should set a budget policy that enables to raise the wages of the low income earners of government employees-both security forces and civil employees. (b) The government should work to enable its employees to have the opportunities to pay their living requirements and to advance themselves financially.


  • In order to eliminate the unfair system of employing government personnel; which is now based on tribalism, favoritism and illegal preference; and to enable to create fair job opportunities for the young scholars from the universities: (a) The government should promote equity and fairness among its citizens of being in access to employment opportunities; and should change the way things are now that created an imbalance in the government working places. (b)The government should implement Somaliland national recruitment or employment law and its procedures, which is important to have competitive and equitable employment opportunities. (c)The government should build a recruitment budget plan; that enables to create a national recruiting budget; and helps to estimate the recruiting budget cost based on the annual expected number of hires. (d)The government must restructure the budget allocations and make its code more progressive by cutting all unnecessary expenses and all lump sum budget line items, minimizing government spending and stopping all budget setting Corruption techniques. (e)The government then should pool all such amounts deducted from the gross budget, to spend it for the Costs related to the staff employment and other associated expenses arising from recruiting exercises. (f)That employment budget should be put in to a Recruiting Budget Subhead that can be added within the annual budget of the National Civil Service commission Agency (Recruiting Agency). (g)The government should allocate special fund within the National budget to help as subsidy to keep the community with the special needs to have the same opportunities with the other citizens.


  • In order to raise the living conditions of thousands of families in the IDPs and other poor families: (a)The government should take its role to coordinate the humanitarian funds provided by the international community in a way to prevent it from corruption, theft and misuses that turns it from its purposes in to private pockets. (b)The government should pool these humanitarian funds in to accountable and transparent Public distribution system with procedural arrangements; that can enable to subsidize the families & communities in the IDPs and to the other needy sections of the society with food, water, shelter, free education and free health treatment. (c)The government has the responsibility to intervene and limit the service charges of the private hospitals, private schools and private universities limiting them at affordable charges for the majority common people. (d)The government should exercise its responsibility to improve the standards of the public hospitals and public schools to ensure the poor children get equal education in quality with the rich and middle class children in the private schools. (e)The government must sponsor a system entrusted with the work of distributing basic food and other essential non-food commodities to its poor and needy groups.


  • In order to reduce the relative poverty and shorten the gap between the rich and the poor: (a)The government should try to combat market inequities through regulation, taxation over the rich, subsidizing the poor, and general economic fairness promotion. (b)The government can apply the policy called “ steal from the rich and give to the poor”; by introducing and collecting several proportions of direct taxes which were introduced, authorized but still not imposed to the rich companies, traders and establishments; to subsidize the well being of the poor. (c)The government also has to increase the percent of the earned Income Profit Tax of the rich companies, traders and establishments; and empower to the low income poor families who suffer many social exclusion and negative externalities. (d)The government should stop the wrong instrument adopted by Kulmiye governments to raise the taxes of the society’s essentially needed commodities, goods and services.


  • In order to fairly distribute trade income benefits, and secure the availability and price affordability of commonly consumed food commodities: (a)The government should have the courage to control the trade Monopoly power and the trade benefits gaining disparity, by implementing the anti-monopoly laws and the restrictive trade practices legislation that rules the four selling limitations of the imported goods. (b) It should remove the unfair and non-competitive mangement system of the contracts related to trade, purchases and constructions that the government gives directly to certain people it prefers in an unfair way. (c) It should control and prevent the unfair and very high prices of the commonly consumed food commodities, from the many poor of its people; it should fix their prices and even subsidize to be at cheap and affordable prices to all levels of the society. (d)The government must develop, finance and implement a long term strategic policy that shall encourage a massive campaign of local food production, local food processing and local food consumption.


  • In order to avoid the poverty that the risks from the natural disasters cause; such as lack of rainfall or droughts, floods, tsunamis, contamination of drinking water sources and earthquakes: (a)The government should develop Natural Disasters preparedness technical strategic plan that refers the appropriate measures taken to prepare for and reduce the effects of such disasters. (b)The government must able to predict the natural disaster and prevent them where possible from the vulnerable groups. (c)The government should mitigate the natural disasters’ impacts on vulnerable populations, and respond to and effectively cope with their consequences. (d)The Government should activate the National Food Reserve Agency; introduce a Nation’s Food and Emergency items Reservation system; then it should begin to make bulk quantity reserves of food commodities and other emergency materials, to cope and use within any unexpected natural events that may happen any time in the future.


Adam Ali Younis