Somalilandsun- Continuing with the infrastructure pillar analysis, the National development plan allocates public works development 4% from the total infrastructure budget ($486.99 million). Among the planned activities under the public works subsector includes among others: repairing and renovation of government-ownedhouses, construction of affordable homes for the government employees, rehabilitating and improving drainage systems nationwide, reviewing current policies and developing standards for certifying and/or issuing licenses to companies in the construction and transportation industries.
Back in 2012, the total stock of government-owned houses were 960 housesaccording tothe NDP, about 192(20%) were in good condition and needed minimum repairs; 288 houses (30%) needed light repairing, 288(30%) required heavy repairing and the remaining 192 houses(20%) are non-livable and needed total replacement.
The national development plan could have added as a local development finance source, the sale of government houses which is legally permissible as longe as the proceeds of such disposals are properly accounted for and used for legitimate national causes. For example, if the government sells 200 of the 960 houses it had in 2012 with an average price of $200,000 each it could have generated 40 million united states dollars ($40,000,000),which could have covered good slice of the innumerable development needs of our nation. Hence, the NDP should have planned methods of utilizing this venue with proper stewardship and accountability mechanisms in place.
The NDP under the public works sub pillar, have planned the construction of 200 affordable homes for the government employees, which was actually a good plan especially when you consider recent rent hikes and shortage of affordable housing for government employees, whomare low salaried and paid in Somaliland shillinges, where the landlords normally require themonthly rents in united states dollars. One of the venues which could have been utilized for the sale of public properties would have been the construction of affordable houses for the employees of the government. An other development conundrum which is faced by Somaliland cities is the condition of our drainage systems nationwide and particularly the capital city. This is an other sterling approach for utilizing sale of public properties, in rehabilitating and improving drainage systems nationwide.
Although the plan considered the problem of standards of construction work and licensing construction companies, still the need for a supervisory system and quality control apparatus is urgently needed in the country. Moreover, the NDP did not sufficiently plan ways to mitigate the land issue, which is a threat to the peace and is an obstacle to investment and economic development. The plan should have looked at it in depth and set approaches to tackle and assuage the problem of land ownership disputes.
By: Mohammed Dahir Ahmed
Senior Financial Consultant and Independent Political Analyst.