Mukhtar Mohamed Abby
Given the business thriving in Somaliland each passing day saw the establishment of a light factory – of which in the recent pass a Paper Mill has been launched in the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa, which is the first of its kind installed in the entire country. The inauguration ceremony saw the participation of a sea of humanity including the President of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud, Siilaanyo, and some high ranking officials of his dispensation – where he gave a speech on the occasion. The President stressed on how his administration is determined in helping and motivating the business community of Somaliland to invest in their country by offering a tax relaxation specifically for those willing to establish the much needed small scale industries.
The set up of the factory has been applauded staunchly by the people of Somaliland as there has never been a Paper Mill of its sort throughout Somaliland – and that this plant would be a sign of commencement of industrialisation. This plant would meet the mounting demand for white sheets and notebooks, and would also be made available across the country in a bid to dispense with the sheets and notebooks imported from outside world.
The owner of the newly established factory stated in his speech delivered on the occasion that he had carried out an extensive market research prior for launching the plant, and that it took for four years to complete; interestingly, the owner of the Paper Mill noted in his speech on the occasion in part: (Soomaalidu Indhaha ayey kafikiraan balse Ummaddaha kale waxay kafikiraan Maskaxda) meaning that Somalis think by eyes, whereas other nations think by mind. (Author’s translation). This amazing statement made by the factory owner plainly indicates how our traders are utterly uneducated about how to invest in the country, and the segment that desperately needs investment. And their ignorance led them to follow each others’ footsteps by copycatting others’ ideas and products – and this is the sole reason that our trading pattern is entirely in mess and lagged our country in terms of small scale industries.
The former Commerce Minister of Riyale administration, Mr Mohamed Hashi Elmi mooted the idea of streamlining the fashion in which the country’s business community trade; he also suggested to the business people to have their own outfit established, specifically the owners of the light factories; through which their grievances are trashed out as well as their common interests are furthered by the same token. This clearly shows that Mr Mohamed Hashi Elmi was committed to the reorganisation of the country’s trading system.
However, number of reasons can be cited as to why Somaliland business community failed to invest in the small scale industries: Firstly, eighty percent of the country’s traders trade the essential commodities and other goods thinking that it is the easiest way a great deal of profit could be generated within a short period, which is in fact a huge burden on the common man. Secondly, those monopolised the entire business of the country are largely ignorant about how to create the business as they trade almost identical commodities. Thirdly, the major traders of Somaliland are not ready to change their pattern of trade fearing they might incur a gigantic loss if they changed their pattern of trade, and are firm in maintaining the status quo. Fourthly, there is a paucity of measures on the part of the Siilaanyo administration to reform the country’s business system.
It is noteworthy that there are deluge of businessmen who have set up beneficial light industries which produce variety of products – and these light industries churn out: Mattresses, household Furnitures, Beverages, Carry Bags, Detergent, Tuna Fish, Packaged Drinking Water, Dairy Milk, and Coca cola to mention a few.
The Somaliland Beverage Industry which is the largest industry throughout Somaliland in which some 17 million US buck has been invested in by its proprietor – has been at the centre of world attention since its foundation. The International television channels have trained its eyes on the Coca Cola Industry, and this has led to discuss in their programmes dedicated for business. In fact, this prominent Industry showed the entire world that Somaliland is not part and parcel of the rogue State of Somalia, which had been ravaged by internecine warfare – and that it is relatively safer than any other country in the entire region; and investment could be made in it.
The Co cola Industry had met the growing demand for the Coca Cola consumption which had initially been imported from outside world. The other light industries too had played pivotal role in meeting the consumer’s demands; in reality, the light industries in the country are contributing well to the country’s economic development, and at the same time alleviated the rampant unemployment prevailing in Somaliland to some extent.
Somaliland at this stage cannot woo the International investors as it is not an internationally recognised country – and foreign direct investment known as FDI is, however, hypothetical for Somaliland, though it has the capacity as an independent State to enter into an agreement with the International Community given the stability and the democracy in which she enjoys presently since the democratisation process had begun for nearly a decade ago.
Though the successive governments that Somaliland saw had done commendable tasks, yet they all failed to come up with a plain strategy with which to launch small scale industries by exploring avenues and means in which this tiny country can be invested in by its own business community or by that of the Asian countries – notably China, India, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, which their economies are the fast growing economies in the world. And they do not bother about the political system that prevails in the Third World countries in which they feel like to invest in as they are unlike their counterparts in The West, who are hypocrites – and who at the same time coercively impose their values, ideologies and norms on the aforementioned countries, while they are about to invest in .
To the Government
• The current dispensation of President Ahmed Siilaanyo streamline the country ‘trading pattern and at the same time motivate the people involved in the small scale industries.
• A plain strategy to industrialise the incipient country must be drawn up by the incumbent administration of President Ahmed Siilaanyo.
• Accord tax relaxation to those willing to invest in the much needed small scale industries.
• Levy heavy tax on the commodities being imported from outside world, which are identical to those produced in the country in order to encourage the products churned out by the local light industries in the country.
• Government of President Ahmed Siilaanyo should woo the Asian investors who are showing their eyeteeth for investing the politically stable countries on the continent.
• Government should help and facilitate the owners of the light industries of Somaliland in establishing their own association.
To the Merchants
• Once and for all change their pattern of trading by moving away from importing essential commodities and focus on the establishment of small scale industries instead.
• Avoid the habit of copycatting each others’ ideas or products, stead come up with innovative ideas and notions.
• Explore other beneficial avenues to boost one’s business that have also advantageous to the country’s economic development.
• Eschew the exploitation of the common man and the same time the products made in the country be made available at the affordable price.
• Establish eco –friendly small scale industries which are not detrimental to the environment.
• Adopt Corporate Social Responsibility known as ( CRS) – a process with the aim to embrace responsibility for th
e company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, customers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere who may also be considered as stakeholders.
Mukhtar Mohamed Abby
India, Karnataka State