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Puntland rejects recently signed Somalia's petroleum law, calling it "unconstitutional"

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

GAROWE, Puntland - Newly signed Petroleum Law could face hurdles in planned implementation, with federal states expressing reservations, a move that technically throws President Mohamed Farmajo into a limbo.

At Villa Somalia on Saturday, Farmajo signed the bill, effectively making it a law, despite disgruntles from federal states, which have termed it "grossly unconstitutional".

But of all the states, Puntland state, which is under President Said Deni, has dismissed the law as "draconian" in the latest statement issued on Tuesday.

Puntland, the statement read, "shall not be involved in the implementation of Petroleum law until clauses violating the constitution and the federalization system are removed."

It's the third time the state has outrightly rejected the law, which gives federal government extreme powers to supervise and coordinate extraction and exportation of oil.

Apart from endless inter-clan conflicts and Al-Shabaab threat, Somalia's sharing of natural resources has put regional states and federal government at loggerheads for years.

Terming the law "illegal and unconstitutional", Puntland now calls for immediate dialogue to mitigate the looming crisis in Somalia.

"Natural resources sharing management should be negotiated and agreed but the federal government and federal member states," read the statement.

According to the northeastern Federal state, "steps of negotiations and implementation in compliance with the Constitution".

Somalia's Senate approved the controversial law last month, barely a month after Lower House almost endorsed it unanimously, officials said.

During the acrimonious voting in the Senate, legislators from Puntland state walked out of the chambers, expressing their dissatisfaction.

Puntland now says "the law was approved by the Senate in a manner that violates federal Constitution as Puntland Senators walked out during first reading."

Last week, President Deni summoned all the state's representatives in the federal government next month, a meeting that would see the leaders discuss "strained" relationships with Mogadishu administration.

But even before the anticipated March meeting, Puntland has warned foreign companies against exploring oil and natural resources "until the law is fixed" by all stallholders.

The statement read: "International companies interested in investing in oil to steer away, and warns the companies against exploring Puntland natural resources."

Somalia had put halt exploration of natural resources for three decades due to inter-clan conflicts and terrorism, with the nation struggling to constitute a democratically elected administration.

But FGS believes exploration of oil will revamp the ailing economy of Somalia, besides creating jobs for thousands of educated youths.

Already, ExxonMobil and Shell have signed a $1.7 billion leases for oil deposits in Mogadishu, with the contract expected to last for 30 years, SONNA reported.


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