Garowe Aril 14, 2019 – Are Somalis Arabs, Africans or Asians? Does that matter anymore when you are being prepared to be a global jihadist or a trader looking for quick profits in expired food and medicine products or in anything that sells hot and cheap in an ignorant and poverty-stricken society like Somalia? And after all, the huge profits conveniently come in USA Dollars, not in Somali shillings as that currency has been losing its value during the past thirty years of statelessness, monetary speculations and graft deeply embedded in every business transaction here.
The whole enterprise got started three decades ago with charity organizations attached to wealthy personalities, business and religious entities of Wahabia religious persuasion in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and a number of other Gulf states. A network of business crooks and cheats in Somalia sprung around these charities, who care more for their bottom-lines than the health and well-being of the nation.
Funds from Arab charities gave way to the import in Somalia of expired foodstuff and banned pharmaceutical products from business criminal networks in India, Thailand, Pakistan and even from Italian Mafia in the business of poor quality and expired spaghetti sticks, taking advantage of non-existent or non-enforceable import-export laws in a lawless country.
Regional states in the country is no different. In Puntland, for instance, there are dozens of rules and regulations as well as legislations that specifically proclaimed from the beginning of the State to counter and address against these illegal trade and dangerous business practices as well as to protect the environment. As an example, by law no one can import plastic bags, but both trees and goats are dying daily in Puntland due to the haphards from these banned bags. There is no one to enforce these laws as custom officers at Port of Entries are either poorly paid, lately paid or allegedly unpaid for months in a row, a situation compelling them to look the other way with a little incentive from these business crooks and aggressive contraband dealers.
Having described these bleak state of affairs in Somalia, there is still light at end of the tunnel. Look back to the recent history of Somalia, let us say, ten years ago. Did you notice any difference? Ten years ago Somalia had no recognized government, no foreign diplomatic corps pouring into Mogadishu and no Somali State that could challenge a disputing and misbehaving neighbor country in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague. The recovery may be slow and painful, but for sure, there is no way back.