The Somali Parliament has rejected the country’s budget after a series of debates. The budget has already sparked intense debates among members of parliament and was postponed on several occasions.
Parliament speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari announced that seventy members of parliament voted against while 54 voted in favor of the new budget and 39 MPs abstained from the vote.
Lawmakers argue that the proposed budget, prepared by the ministry of finance and national planning and estimated to be slightly over US$100 million for 20-13, lacked proportionate distribution of expenditure.
The majority of the legislators demanded a salary increase for Somali government forces, who are engaged in fighting against Al-Shabaab fighters in south and central Somalia. They argued that the best way to guarantee the winning of the war against Al-Shabaab is to improve the livelihoods of the troops and their families.
Lawmakers also accused the finance ministry of allocating more funds to other ministries. The MP’s now demand that the country’s financial experts revise the draft budget before sending it to parliament within thirty days for approval.
Currently, the two largest government revenue sources are customs duties from the main Mogadishu port and the Aden Adde International Airport.
Lawmakers have also been calling on President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to fulfill his promises to improve the country’s security and economy.
The 275-seat body parliament was sworn into office on the 20th August outside the Mogadishu airport ending the country’s eight-year political transition and ushering in a new, stable administration for the first time four decades.
by Abdulaziz Billow