THE WORLD BANK SUPPORTED ECONOMIC SECTOR FORUM MEETING HELD SUCCESSFULLY IN SOMALILAND
The Ministry of Trade and Investment (MoTI) has organised the Economic Sector Coordination Meeting (ESCOM) at Maansoor Hotel on Monday. This is part of the Somaliland Investment Climate Program (SICRP) supported by World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice and implemented by Hanvard Africa. ESCOM is a PPD platform and is intended to bring all economic sector stakeholders together to discuss necessary reforms and priorities for the sector. The meeting was attended by more than 50 participants representing public and private sector as well as civil society and donor agencies. ESCOM is co-chaired by Michael Poulse (DANIDA) and the Ministry of Trade & Investment’s director of planning Mr. Mohamed Awale who also heads the secretariat that supports the ESCOM.
The Hon. Minister of Trade and Investment Hussein Adan Egeh (Deyr) made excellent speech where he articulated the priorities for his ministry and the wider reforms needed to promote investment and improve economic recovery in the country. Following is the full speech of the minister:
“The Economic Sector Coordination Meeting (ESCOM) constitutes a key element in Somaliland’s National Development Plan (NDP) framework. ESCOM is primarily a component of Government’s Aid Coordination mechanism. As you all know there are 9 sectors under the NDP2 including: Economic, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Health, Education, Water, Production, Environment and Energy.
The Economic Sector is considered as one of the most important sectors in the country as it has cross-cutting inter-sectoral implications for all other sectors. The purpose of the Economic Sector Coordination Meeting (ESCOM) therefore is to develop sector monitoring and coordination mechanisms, oversee implementation of agreed policy interventions, provide policy guidelines and act as a forum for networking and information sharing. The main objective of the Economic Sector Coordination Meeting (ESCOM) is to bring together all relevant stakeholders to enable information sharing and networking on issues that impact on the economic sector and set the priorities for the development of the sector.
The government of Somaliland is fully aware that it is the private sector which drives our economy and the role of the government is to create an enabling environment for the private sector to invest and expand. As a Minister of Trade and Investment my responsibility is therefore to bring about the essential reforms through proper legal and regulatory framework so that we attract more investment which will in turn create jobs and contribute towards economic growth and recovery.
The Minister of Trade and Investment believes that private sector-led economic growth is essential for the development of Somaliland and attaining the aspirations of its young and growing population. Moreover, the Ministry of Trade and Investment realizes that the developmental challenges facing Somaliland require creating a more conducive environment for private sector development, investment and expansion as a means of spurring economic growth and recovery in order to reduce high levels of poverty in the country.
The Ministry of Trade and Investment recognizes that ESCOM is at a critical juncture given the ongoing preparation of the next National Development Plan and the need to take stock of successes achieved and challenges faced. Hence the Ministry will work with other ministries to ensure that Economic sector consultations under the new NDP are further strengthened. Furthermore MoTI is committed to support effective implementation of Doing Business reforms (including online name search, use of standardized documents and operationalize the One Stop Shop etc). In this regard MoTI will continue to work with relevant Government institutions and the private sector led by the chamber of commerce to ensure that different aspects of doing business reforms are effectively implemented.
In order to achieve the above objectives Ministry of Trade and Investment will make sure to:
Put in the commitments and efforts to ensure that key laws and policies critical to the improvement in Somaliland’s investment climate are enacted or amended; these include preparing an SME policy and a Private Sector Development (PSD) strategy which was recommended by stakeholders at the last ESCOM which was since followed by the assurance of WBG technical support.
Engage private sector actors and make them feel stakeholders in the economic sector reforms and highlight ongoing efforts to implement a high level and economy wide public private dialogue process in order to ensure inclusive and result oriented policy consultations between the private sector and government and other stakeholders (including development partners).
Support capacity building and strengthening of relevant public institutions and agencies, including MoTI, and private sector institutions, including the Chamber of Commerce and business membership organizations to enable them effectively support Somaliland’s private sector development.
Raise profile of participation in ESCOM to improve decision make which will encourage all key economic decision makers to participate in ESCOM to get fast hand feedback from key stakeholders since their participation will enhance the quality of decision making in the country since they will be well informed about what is happening in the economy and inter-sectoral coordination.
Support continuing energy sector reforms including anti-monopoly regulations and strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for the energy sector; the need for protection and assurances necessary to advance the energy sector as well as the need to support the development of refined financial instruments for the renewable energy sub-sector.
Promote financial sector reforms including the need to introduce commercial banking services in Somaliland, alongside the existing Islamic Banks which are by and large not able to meet all credit access needs of the business community with the aim of encouraging foreign investors into the country and to support the need to build the capacity of the Central Bank to effectively regulate all financial service providers, including banks, in order to ensure quality financial services.
There is no doubt that ESCOM has made good progress since its inception last year and provided the right platform for the sector’s stakeholders to share information and put forward policies for discussion in order to promote private sector development. It is hoped that this great work will continue and cover more grounds to advance the needs of the economic sector”.
Although the Ministry of Trade and Investment leads the activities of the ESCOM it is nevertheless an economic sector forum which includes all relevant stakeholders.