Somalia: Puntland orders halt to German-funded project

Puntland
By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

GAROWE, Puntland - Puntland, a Federal State in northeastern Somalia notified German development agency, GIZ to end a key water project in the region amid strained relations between the two sides, Garowe Online reports.

In a statement dated 16th Sep 10, 2018, Puntland State authority for Water, Energy and Natural Resources [PASAWEN] has informed GIZ to stop installation of 5 water dams in between Jalam locality and Harfo district.

"PASAWEN informs GIZ the water act which was endorsed by the Puntland cabinet on 16th August 2018 and is now in state parliament pending for final approval. This law gives PASAWEN full mandate to develop, control, regulate and implement all surface water developments, including water catchments, and underground water," read the statement in part.

Additionally, PASAWEN says it is aware of the forthcoming agreements between Puntland's MOE and GIZ on water catchment developments. In addition, GIZ was urged to stop any deal with MOE, saying it lacks a legal mandate.

The statement noted that MOE which stands for Puntland's Ministry of Environment has no legitimacy to work on such project as it is not included in the state's environment act passed out by the cabinet and parliament in 2017.

"Any agreement with MOE regarding water development, both surface and underground is illegal and doesn't strengthen the government framework," said PASAWEN in the statement seen by Garowe Online.

In the conclusion, PASAWEN stated in the letter addressed to state parliament speaker, Ahmed Ali Hashi that it has legal and expertise capacity in the implementation of all water-based projects in various regions in Puntland.

-Jalam - Harfo Road Project - 

The decision comes days after the aGerman government has terminated funding for the construction of an 80-Km road between Jalam and Harfo, a section of Galkayo and Garowe corridor, citing lack of transparency and accountability.

Puntland Highway Authority, an organ of the Puntland government which was an implementing partner and the State presidency are said to have failed to fulfill the terms of the accord, sparking to the termination of the project.

The move to cancel funding of the project which was being implemented by the German development agency GIZ follows several months of disputes over the project which ran into trouble during the tendering process in 2016.

Germany was carrying out in Puntland several vital development projects costing more than $20 million, including road maintenance, construction of hospitals, schools and other essential facilities in Mudug and Nugal regions.

The office of Puntland President released a statement on 13th Sep to minimize the significance and role of Germany in the rehabilitation of Jalam-Harfo road which links Garowe to Galkayo, saying the project is not at risk of termination.

Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali "Gaas" whose five-year term expiring in 3 months from now has been blamed for failing to fight the rampant corruption that led to the suspension of the latest road project.

The Presidential candidates running for the presidency in 2019 election and the public at large say the corruption had crippled every department of President Ali's government and stunted economic growth in the past 4 years.

The PASAWEN letter sent to GIZ:

GAROWE ONLINE