At an extraordinary meeting which the council of ministers of federal Somalia held, Saturday, in Mogadishu a pledge that the United Kingdom, Italy and Norway made to underwrite debt Somalia owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) was approved.
The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khairre.
Somalia owed the IMF and other major creditors a staggering US$4.8 billion as at December 2019. One Million US$ of this amount is owed to the US Treasury.
Norway announced in December last year that it planned to partially relieve the weak, UN-supported government in Mogadishu some of the debt it was burdened with agreeing to clear nearly $360 million of Somalia’s debt with the World Bank.
The pledge which Norway and the two former colonials of British Somaliland and Somalia, UK and Italy, respectively, aims to give the teetering administration the benefit of the doubt in its repeated vows to put its sinking ship on even keel.
IMF Spokesman Gery Rice said in December 2019 that the IMF board will mobilise funds for the clearance of Somalia’s debt to the IMF and financing of the remaining arrears owed to bilateral and multilateral creditors.
The United Kingdom, critics state, is only tailing Italy which supports Mogadishu in all ventures even if they were tainted to the rest of the world.
Mogadishu and Villa Somalia, Somalia opposition figures point out, were given all the funds and support – physical and otherwise – to make something of Somalia and pull it out of its current political, economic and social quagmire and plenty of leeways to do it. But it was not to be. Debt relief would only encourage more corruption, less accountability and zero transparency, they say.
“Instead,” they say, “the country’s inept, glutinous leaders are still sticking out begging bowls to a world that is fast losing hope of any meaningful recovery despite the grand words used to cover leadership follies such as ‘resilience’, ‘economic recovery’ and the like”.