By T. Roble
The government should tame its appetite for new commissions and authorities as they risk depleting revenues, a new report by the Financial Governance Committee which comprises representatives from Somalia and the donor community has said.
The Committee’s report released last week by Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh warned that whereas domestic revenue mobilization was on the upward trend, government expenditure was exponentially rising calling for a need review of the commissions.
“While FGS is making considerable progress in increasing its domestic revenues, the FGC is concerned that these revenue gains will be partially or wholly absorbed by an increase in the cost of Government,” the report notes.
In particular, the report warns, “The FGC is concerned by the rate at which new FGS agencies are being created.” According to the annual report, there are over 20 Independent Commissions, Authorities and Agencies currently in existence in FGS or due to be established shortly.
Domestic revenue collections amounted to $183m in 2018, representing an increase of $41m (29%) compared to 2017.
The 2012 Provisional Constitution establishes 11 Independent Commissions but the new authorities and commissions are a product of sectoral legislation. Recent ones include the Communications Authority, Procurement Authority, Disability Authority. Some of the pipeline pending approval of bills before parliament or at cabinet-level are Statistics Agency, Petroleum Authority and Fisheries Authority.
“While the creation of such institutions may appear to be technically justified,’ the Committee report says, “The overall question facing FGS is whether their creation is necessary or desirable at this point in time.” The Committee chaired by Finance Minister Beileh and includes representatives from among others the World Bank and IMF notes the formation of these bodies do not only pose a financial challenge but human resource exhaustion.
The new agencies and authorities will likely rob ministries, most of which are not fully established and functional much needed qualified personnel which is scarce, the Committee advises.
The FGC recommends policy formulation to review the justification for the formation of new government bodies. It also proposes the Constitutional review process considers whether all 11 Independent Commissions established in the 2012 Constitution are still required. Chapter 10 of the Provisional Constitution contemplates the formation of 10 Independent Commissions.