Somalia:Recapitalisation is key to Bosaso recovery 5 Dec 5, 2011 - 12:34:52 AM
Recapitalisation is key to Bosaso recovery
By: Liban Ahmed
The fire that destroyed almost one third of Bosaso businesses had affected livelihoods of many people behind the economic vibrancy of the commercial city of Puntland, a city that benefited from diversity of people with skills from different parts of Somalia. Just as pre-war Mogadishu become a melting-pot for Somalis from all regions before United Somali Congress leaders and their successor warlords turned the capital into an enclave over which armed sub-clans fight, Post-1990 Bosaso grew from a tiny remote coastal town into a major commercial city. Had it not been for the far-sightedness of local leaders who have welcomed people from different regions and allowed them to start businesses, the city would not have been what it is today.
Puntland president, Abdirahman Farole, promised that his administration " will do whatever it can to help the victims of Bosaso fire". People in Puntland know more about the capability of the administration but the Diaspora, whose help can speed up a reconstruction and recapitalisation initiative, know little about what the administration can do to help people whose businesses were affected by the fire. Did the administration register business owners with premises? Did it a register hawkers? Did the business people ( both established and hawkers) pay any type of tax? Registration of the business people will enable the administration to plan for a reconstruction and recapitalisation initiative.
Whether business people paid tax or not is beside the point. Puntland government ought to take into account the past and future job creation potential of the business people. If they did not pay any tax, the the government may not not have made the case for tax forcefully but now, assuming that business people ( excluding importers) have not paid any tax, the government of Puntland should go beyond sympathising with the business people whose livelihoods were affected by Bosaso fire, and should plan for recapitalising all businesses affected. The business people are now in soul-searching mood. They are asking questions about planning and how the fire service could have reduced the impact of the fire. After all, fire service is a public service funded through tax from businesses. Recognising the interdependence of the private and the public sector is key to a reconstruction and recapitalisation initiative .
To earn trust of potential contributors particularly the Diaspora, a recapitalisation and reconstruction initiative should be administered by people, known for the integrity and public service, who will not favour the local business people over business people from other regions of Somalia. Bosaso is richer and more cosmopolitan because of investment from Somalis hailing from other regions. Although Bosaso fire is a sad experience, it can be seminal for reconstruction and recapitalisation initiative that will help affected business people stand with their own feet again and contribute to the vibrancy of the city.