By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Every passenger flying into or out of the country will pay a mandatory $10 airport levy.
The House of Representatives has approved the Airport Levy and Security Bill at a session with a quorum of 49 members and chaired by deputy speaker Hon Bashe Mohamed Farah.
After days of debates the lower chamber of parliament the Airport Levy and Security Bill received approval through 46 yes votes, while two members voted against as another abstained thus allow the bill to be forwarded to Guurti which is the upper chamber of the house for either approval or rejection.
The legislator’s approval comes after the original draft bill presented by the ministry of Aviation and Air transported saw several amendments made to it by the parliamentary Economy, Finance and Commerce Committee-PEF&CC.
If Guurti rejects the bill it shall be returned to the House of Representatives for amendments but if it receives approval by the Elders then it shall be forwarded to the president for signature thus became law.
The approval bill legalizes the collection of a mandatory $10 levied on all passengers above 15 years of age upon entry and departure from the country’s international airports.
While the government has the authority over all services and tax collection at the airports the bill gives the Aviation ministry authority to delegate the services to any entity it deems fit for the duty.
The law also gives the Auditor General authority to undertake audit activities as and when necessary as a deterrence against malfeasance by either or both the collector and ministry personnel.
Though $10 airport levy charged passenger is now undergoing legalizing procedures it has been in existence for almost two years.
When submitting the draft bill to the House of Representatives earlier this month, the minister of aviation upon grilling by members informed that the levy was collected by the National Airport Services and Handling Agency-NASHA, which is a private company.
It is therefore expected that the ministry of aviation in pursuit of powers now confer by the law shall once again delegate, but officially this time, the collection of the airport levy to NASHA.
On the other hand, and without disrespect to the August house of parliament, the query remains as per reasons behind the never ending quorum of between 32 & 49 in a chamber with a membership 82 honourables.