FINANCE MINISTER Abdirahman Beileh has rubbished the Finance Committee report on the 2018 budget terming it as ‘false and propaganda’ defending government execution of the budget.
Addressing the Lower House Saturday, Beileh said the assertions by the Committee that the government could not account for up to $20 million which was to be carried forward from the 2017 financial year are false noting there was ‘no money lost’.
Beileh who had been put on the spotlight by the Committee to disclose how the government spent the $20 million which was part of a $50 million donation from Saudi Arabia in 2017 summoned the roped in the Central Bank to bolster his defense.
Central Bank deputy governor Maryan Abdullahi gave the House an account of how the money was spent and the current state of affairs. According to Ms Abdullahi, the first tranche of $10 million was transferred to treasury October 5, 2017 followed by another $6 million in November of the same year. The government requisitioned a further $4 million November 26, 2017 followed by another $10 million in December.
At the beginning of the 2018 financial year, the Central Bank deputy governor said there was a balance of $20 million in the Turkey based account. In September 2018, the Ministry wrote to the Central Bank to advance it $ 5 million to pay for civil servants’ salaries leaving $15 million.
Beileh also told the House the government had spent $22.3 million of food for the national army, $87 million for salaries of civil servants and military while $37.1 million covered capital costs such as equipment for the various government departments.
In the report, the Committee also points to an instance where $2.5 million from the Contingency Fund was withdrawn for personal use among government officials including offsetting personal loans and purchase of bulletproof cars.
The Committee also said the minister had collected money from remittance companies and banks and kept them in a Bank account of the Ministry instead of the federal government Single Account at the Central Bank. It is not clear if the minister provided response on these matters since they were no covered in his presentation.
Regarding the Banaadir Regional Administration, the Minister said he was not in a position to respond on how the city administration spends its budget since it does not have oversight over it just like the rest of the federal member states.
Debate on the report however aborted after the Minister’s presentation when Second Deputy Speaker Mahad Awad said the House could not proceed with any debate since the manner in which the report was compiled fell short of the House Standing Orders.