Somalia's oil minister dismisses Puntland deal
Oct 1, 2007 - 6:45:41 PM

BAIDOA, Somalia Oct 1 (Garowe Online) - Somali lawmakers meeting in the inland town of Baidoa questioned the country's petroleum minister Monday as part of an accountability motion with the interim government of Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi.

Petroleum Minister Abdullahi Yusuf Mohamed was asked what his ministry knew of the deal the regional government of Puntland signed with a foreign company to explore the region for oil, parliament sources reported.

Minister Mohamed said his ministry does not recognize any agreement Puntland signed with foreign companies. He stressed that the proposed Petroleum Law is in front of the Somali federal parliament for debate.

The Somali oil minister said the interim government has engaged in talks with various foreign firms interested in helping Somalia tap into its natural resources.

He asked the members of parliament to debate and ratify the propose Petroleum Law, which he said lead to development for the people and nation of Somalia.

Ministries in the Gedi government have been asked to report to parliament and answer questions about finances and projects. Last week, lawmakers issued a four-day ultimatum for the remaining ministries to report to parliament. [Full story]

Several ministries have already reported to parliament, but MPs said they are still awaiting the ministry of finance to answer key issues.

The Puntland regional government has opposed the proposed Petroleum Law on grounds that the Law, if passed by parliament, will automatically disqualify any deal signed after 1990.

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Source: Garowe Online