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Somalia: Puntland enters new era as reformist president takes office

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

GAROWE, Puntland - Puntland has entered a new chapter in its history on Monday as a new president, Said Abdullahi Deni took office, who vowed 'profound and radical' change, Garowe Online reports.

In his speech at a brief handover ceremony held in the Presidential Palace in Garowe city, Deni has pledged to make the security forces and civil servants happy by paying their salaries in the first step.

Deni, 53, won on January 8 election against 20 candidates, including his predecessor, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas who was in power since 2014 but ended up marred by a series of graft scandals.

Gaas run for another five-year term in the election, but, lost in the first round of the ballot, a sign that showed the people tired of a corrupt and incompetent president who failed to move Puntland forward.

The new president said his government will not consider friendship in its fight against corruption as no one is above the law. The move aims to end corruption and impunity that prevent Puntland’s rebirth.

In a new directive issued on Monday, Deni who is an economist who served as Somalia planning minister in 2014 banned building of public lands and printing Somali Bank notes, the main factor of the inflation.

On Sunday, January 13, he has directed the finance ministry to end tax reduction and exemptions for the government institutions and non-governmental organizations as well as private business entities.

On the first day of his presidency, the new leader has issued an executive order to freeze the state’s account and halted withdrawals of funds to avert embezzlement during the transition period of power.

Puntland, an oil-rich region situated on the Gulf of Aden near the entrance to the Red Sea, was established as semi-autonomous in 1998 and had escaped the worst of Somalia's bloody civil war broke out in 1991.


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