“The State President is the only official one has to meet with on anything related to Puntland government, the Elders are the ones to seek a personal favour to kick-start one’s political and professional career, one has to be a religiously looking or sheikh to get into local retail and money transfer business” etc. These are some examples of prevailing attitude and culture that had solidly developed in Puntland for the past 20 years of self-government, based on my personal observations and past experience on Puntland ways.
Could anyone inform us of any positive contributions that kind of political and business culture had made to move Puntland forward?
Puntland needs democratic transition to multi-party elections, discontinuing the old ways of one man rule. Puntland should not depend on the blessing of clan elders for its institutional foundations. Elders should be retired to go back to their historical role of peace-making among their respective clan systems. Traditional elders’ wrong-headed approach in Puntland governance has hit low level and a dead-end to provide further usefulness.
Equally, Puntland needs all kinds of national, local and foreign business investments, not investment from only a certain section of its society. Business people are moving out now and shying away from coming to Puntland as they notice and experience obstacles of business monopoly and lack of encouragement for free enterprise and entrepreneurship. There should be serious studies on taxation and business incentives to spark off growth, consumer confidence and trouble-free business ventures. Lending and credit should be initiated and encouraged. Consumption of locally produced goods and services should be promoted.
Skills training is badly needed in Puntland. Vocational schools are non-existent in Puntland State. Youth are losing their local identity and eventually national identity as they are not taught at all about the history of their nation. Shame!
There is a lot to do. No nation had ever made significant socio-economic progress on handouts and charities. To have a strong nation, everyone must be willing to do his part and hard work. No short-cuts to greatness.
By Ismail Warsame