Feb 12 2013 (Garowe Online) – The Puntland government passed a law banning all petroleum
imports from Yemen.
GO in an exclusive interview has asked the Puntland Minister of Finance Farah
Ali Jama the reasons behind that ban, Garowe Online reports.
Minister Farah can you explain why the Puntland government
banned petroleum imports from Yemen?
The law was passed January 24 2013 and the reasons for doing so
are many. The economic implications of petroleum being imported from Yemen have
affected the market in Puntland. Many businessmen/women have informed the
Puntland government of the economic implications of petroleum from Yemen. Small
fishing boats that are registered as fishing boats have been found to import
petroleum from Yemen
without going through the proper channels. These fishing boats are sometimes
owned by Somalis or Yemenis and operate in Puntland waters, these boats have
begun unlawfully importing and occasionally lawfully importing petroleum.
So how do these boats unlawfully import
the petroleum to Puntland?
The boats come into Puntland
through the port of Bossaso on occasion or dock on the vast coast of Puntland. The fishing boats that usually bring the
petroleum in from Yemen
are registered from Puntland as fishing boats but carry petroleum which they
bring in without going through the proper channels or tax system. The close
proximity between Yemen
and Puntland makes it easier for them to bring in the petroleum without being
caught. The boats use both Yemeni and Puntland flags whenever it is convenient
to do so. They also load the boats with other goods when arriving in Puntland.
The biggest problem we have is the lack of regulation of boats coming into
Puntland from Yemen
which has also affected our fishing industry. Those who import petroleum from
other countries through the proper channels have been adversely affected by the
influx of unregulated petroleum coming from Yemen. There has been a drop in
port traffic due to this unregulated supply of petroleum to Puntland.
Why do businessmen/women import petroleum from Yemen
and not other petroleum rich countries?
Because mainly the petroleum
from Yemen is cheap low
quality petroleum that has attracted many importers and led to a surge in
petroleum coming from Yemen
and not enough of other supplies arriving at the port.
What affect or implication or outcomes does the
banning of petroleum have on the economy in Puntland?
The outcomes of this ban we
anticipate will be positive ones, due to the fact that petroleum being imported
into Puntland will be regulated. Businessmen/women are very much tied to Gulf States for trade,
whether it is construction material, furniture, food or garments. That being
said, people who import petroleum will be offered the same rates as Yemen and will be able to import petroleum
freely from other countries except Yemen. We anticipate a boost in
market and a return in port traffic because more and more importers will have
to diversify their import load since the cheap low quality oil from Yemen is
banned. The implications might be that some Puntland residents and traders
might not understand why the ban is in place but the security and economic
impact of petroleum has negatively affected Puntland residents but has helped
Is security one of the issues why Puntland banned
petroleum imports from Yemen?
Yes, security is one of the
reasons why Puntland banned the petroleum imports from Yemen; due to several reports of arms being
brought into Puntland from Yemen
to terror cells operating in the Golis Mountain Range. The surge of petroleum
being imported to Puntland began after former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah
Salah stepped down. Due to these compounded negative affects we have [Puntland]
stopped petroleum imports from Yemen.
Abdirahman Mohamed Farole spent many weeks in Bossaso meeting with
businessmen/women to smooth out economic concerns. Taxes at the port were
lowered last year after a dip in traffic at Bossaso port. The Puntland
government says that the decision to ban petroleum from Yemen will help
foster a surge in traffic at the Bossaso port.