Somaliland president Muse Bihi has implored the private banks in the country to channel unused funds in their treasury towards the development of the country and the creation of jobs.
In his annual constitutional address to the nation, President Bihi acknowledged that while the country does not have international banks due to its current political status as an unrecognized nation, the value of the local currency- the Somaliland shilling continued to gain strength against the US dollar, which, has seen a decreased inflation in the country by 3.5 %, the lowest in close to a decade.
He said that the amount of money deposited in the local banks far outweighed the amount lent and asked banks to channel the balance on development projects.
Said the President: “The value of Somaliland shilling is current around 8,500 SL shillings for the dollar. Inflation has decreased by 3.5% which is the lowest in recent years.”
“There are four private banks in the country. The people have deposits of 200 million dollars. Last year (2020) the four banks lent 70 million dollars, which means that they have 130 million dollars in the treasury that is not being used.
This money which is idle can be used for developing industries, constructing modern hospitals, and creating jobs.”
“We don’t have international banks in the country. Although our local banks have their problems, we encourage them to target working like international banks which use the deposit they have on national development and humanitarian assistance,” observed President Bihi.
In a speech that focused on the political and economic growth of the country, President Bihi said while Somaliland is considered to be one of the low economy countries, its economic development is being realized by the efforts of the different governments and businessmen who have invested in the country.
“The government under my leadership is making great effort to realize economic growth,” he said.
He identified four pillars that have placed the country on a positive economic trajectory. The four include revenue collected by Public Financial Institutions, investment and economic development by businessmen who have the main economy in their hands, Somaliland Diaspora’s support and the investment in the country and foreign investment and international aid.
The president said 51.67% of the country’s income is used for national security, defense and salary for civil servants while the rest of the budget is used for basic infrastructures and different activities such as the quest for
recognition, job creation, development projects, infrastructure, education, health and access for drinkable water.
“The majority of international aid we receive are humanitarian and emergency
support, as well as pilot projects,” he said.
Some of the projects the government has engaged in include the establishment of the Institute of Agricultural Research with the aim of modernizing and developing farming and irrigation in the country to achieve self-sufficiency on agricultural production and the construction of a fishing port at Maydh which began at a cost of US$ 5 million.
The president said: “We are aware that the original seeds of our crops have vanished and as such we have succeeded in reviving 23 different types of seeds which were popular in the country.
We aim to establish a National Seed Bank.” “We have also vaccinated 3, 000,000 heads and 81, 000 nomadic families have benefited from this.”
President Bihi said Somaliland is a rich country that can realize self-sufficiency in the economy if the citizenry cooperates.