The Ministry of Information of Somalia’s Weekly Press Conference, 14 June 2014 – H.E. Mustafa Duhulow today spoke to the media in Mogadishu to provide an update on government progress over the last week. The Minister spoke on various issues including Sheikh Atom’s rejection of Al-Shabaab, the progress on the Stabilization Plan, the recent fighting in Lower Shabelle, initiatives to clean streets by students, the Auditor General Legislation, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2016, the progress on the Constitution Making Process, and plans to begin tax collection from public.

The Minister of Information spoke on Sheikh Atom’s rejection of Al-Shabaab: “The Federal Government commends Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom’s rejection of al-Shabaab, and hopes his brave step inspires others to follow his example and embrace peace and unity. The insight he gives into the hellish reality of life under al-Shabaab completely contradicts the myths they spread in the media and he has the gratitude of Somalis everywhere for exposing their lies. Their blocking of aid agencies from Somalis in desperate need is a crime against humanity and Sheik Atom’s description of Al-Shabaab says it all: “They have no regard to general public who are in grave difficulties, such as displaced people whom they starved by blocking relief assistance from generous Muslims and non-Muslims.”
The Minister of Information spoke on the progress of Stabilization Plan: “The Stabilization Plan is progressing very well. Federal Government officials last week provided humanitarian aid to newly liberated areas such as Bule-Burte, Wajid and other regions. New Administrations were installed in many of the newly recovered areas, improve life for the citizens of those areas and allow security forces and AMISOM to focus on security. The aim of the new administrations is to bring good governance to the people and to start the reconciliation process amongst communities, engaging with the people so that they can take part in the decision making process. The Stabilization Plan is taking us towards a democratic process that results in the people freely choosing their future leaders.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the recent fighting in Merca: “The Minister of the Interior & Federalism and the Minister of Defense, who is also Acting Minister of Security, visited Merca in Lower Shabelle Region and spoke to elders and all other segments of the society with a view to facilitating reconciliation amongst the various parties in the conflict. The ministers successfully reconciled the two groups and asked them to solve their differences through reconciliation and peaceful means. The Council of Ministers on Thursday agreed to remove all militia groups from the area and Government security forces to take full control in the area. The government would like to thank elders and those took part the reconciliation process, who really showed their willingness to solve all outstanding disputes through reconciliation and peaceful means.”

The Minister of Information spoke on Voluntary Street Cleaning by students: “I would like to thank the management of SIMAD University for organizing 400 of its students to voluntarily clean streets in Mogadishu, particularly Hamar Jab-Jab Street. This effort has transformed the appearance of the street. I would also like to thank Hamar Jab-Jab District Commissioner for its leadership in bringing the beauty of the district back. This initiative is something that all our citizens could do for their country and I have no doubt that if all us do something similar we would be in a position to carry out all the basic services our communities need by ourselves. I call on other universities to organise similar activities so that our citizens can take part in service delivery, which in turn will give great satisfaction and pleasure to the people.”

The Minister of Information spoke on Auditor General Legislation: “The Council of Ministers on Thursday approved the new Legislation on the Auditor General Office, which will soon be tabled at the parliament for their discussion and approval. This legislation will help all our institutions to carry out their activities in a transparent and accountable manner. Office of the Auditor General has been working on this legislation for some time and their aim is to ensure that all institutions are free from corrupt practices and that all government assets are looked after properly by up-holding the highest standards possible.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the Ministry of Agriculture’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2016: “The Ministry of Agriculture has recently published its Strategic Plan for 2014-2016 which was a product of consultation with farmers associations and all experts in the field of agriculture in Somalia. The aim of the Strategic Plan is to encourage Somali farmers and international donors to produce more farming products and for international donors to invest the agriculture sector in Somalia. Donors welcomed the strategic plan and this plan will enhance the production of agricultural products. Ministry of Agriculture has been active in encouraging Somali farmers to produce more and this plan will provide the necessary investments from abroad. Our aim is to develop our potential so that our country will be able to become self sufficient in the near future.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the progress of the Constitution Making Process: “2014 is the year of Action & Delivery and the Federal Government of Somalia is currently completing process to establish the Commission so it can start its work. The process includes establishing a venue, the collation of all existing documents and materials related to the review process and, finally, a Technical Retreat. The Technical Retreat will be jointly convened by the cabinet and the parliament during second week of July and immediately following the Technical Retreat the Commission will link up with Federal Institutions for feedback. Then the Process Framework will be presented to regional authorities for their comments. Finally, the cabinet will give its endorsement and it will then be ready to be presented to Parliament before parliament enters recess on July 20. The Process Framework will then be shared with the public and the Independent Commission will be officially launched.”

The Minister of Information concluded his press conference by speaking on the issue of tax collection: “The Ministry of Finance prepared the plan of tax collection including tariffs. It is very important for the government to have income to deliver basic services to the people. Each country relies on its citizens to pay taxes so that the country can be self sufficient in delivering services to its people. As we are now moving to peace and stability we expect our citizens to understand the importance of paying taxes: so that we can reduce reliance on outsiders. We can only become self sufficient if we make contributions to society so that our unity and territorial integrity can be protected by the state. The Government has now prepared plans to start tax collection through good governance, which will give confidence to our citizens.”


Ministry of Information

Mogadishu, Somalia