By: Mo A Ali
Somalilandsun I read with disappointment a report published in Qarannews today about the results of the distribution of the Business Fund among the Somaliland businesses (small grant awards rd 1).
Having seen the report, I think the way the grants were awarded was high jacked by certain business people from the capital of Somaliland. The award system leaves minimal funding opportunity for the other Somaliland regions and that is unfair.
The majority of the decision making body is from Hargeisa and the few Westerners in the fund management may have not been aware of the bias factor within their colleagues at the time of deciding on the grant recipients of the 1st round . Most of the other Somaliland regions were not represented in the management of the programme as shown in the report.
I think the distribution method was bad and the conditions for getting the grants by business people were difficult in addition to the unfairness in the decision making. Many of those who could afford the matching funds for the grants were from Hargeisa. They are already established businesses or those that have rich business relatives who could support them by lending them the matching funds.
On the other hand, the majority of the business people from the other regions of Somaliland particularly from Sool, Sanaag, Salel, Sahil as well as Haud and Odweine did not have the capital to match the funds and therefore, lost the bids technically. Those who did manage the matching funds were deliberately disqualified. Upon contacting some of the business people that didn’t get the awards, I was informed “that although most of the applicants from outside Hargeisa fulfilled the grant criteria, the decision making body was bias and turned down their applications”
I think the ministry of Planning of Somaliland should have intervened in the distribution of the funding evenly and without obstacles to the under developed Somaliland regions. The Western donors should have also closely looked into how the grant funding criteria could unjustly benefit those who already had enough money – mainly in Hargeisa region, therefore technically depriving the funding opportunity for those that mostly needed .The donors and the fund management should also have looked into how the regions of Somaliland were represented in the grant decision making body.
It will be for the welfare of all Somaliland people to share the wealth of the country equally, particularly the Aid that is given by the foreign countries and other Non- governmental organisations.
I , therefore , call upon the Management of The Somaliland Business Fund to revise the funding Criteria to enable the even distribution of the funds to the Somaliland regions and also to make sure that all regions are equally represented in the decision making body .
The writer Mo Ali is the editor of www.Medeshivalley.com