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Somalia imposes taxes for firms operating from airport

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The Somali government said Tuesday they had reintroduced taxes for both local and foreign companies operating from the Mogadishu International Airport.

Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Abdirahman Omar Osman said out of the 157 companies operating from the airport only nine currently pay taxes.

“It is only right and proper that these companies, who profit from the situation in Somalia, contribute towards ending the political turmoil of the past and help build a prosperous and peaceful future,” Osman said in a statement.

“A taxation task force will be established to negotiate with each company and payments will be back-dated to the start of their presence in Somalia,” he said.

The new development signals the government’s intention to regulate the activities of foreign companies and raise revenues for the conflict-torn country.

Financial institutions in the Horn of Africa nation including the central bank and the tax collection systems crumbled following the fall of the Siad Barre regime in 1991.

The post-transitional government is gradually reintroducing proper systems for commerce, trade, fiscal policies and agencies to collect taxes and duties.

Osman said these companies provide important support to the UN, the international community and aid agencies, who pay well for these services.

The ministries have been directed to ensure that the firms are fully licenced to operate in the country and that they ensure to employ Somali citizens rather than foreigners. 

Oman said a meeting convened last week on taxation measures saw representatives from these companies from security firms to catering companies, express their willingness to pay taxes and inquired about the process and information.

During the meeting, Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh reassured them that taxation will be handled in accordance with international standards and will be independently monitored to insure transparency and accountability.



Somalia security forces arrest 14 Al-Shabaab fighters

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Security forces from Somalia’s regional state of Puntland on Tuesday arrested 14 Al-Shabaab militants including two women in an operation conducted near Garowe town, the administrative capital.

Police Commissioner for Nugal region Abdirashid Mohamud told reporters the suspects were arrested following intelligence information the forces received from members of the public.

“We conducted very successful operation near Garowe town where we captured 14 Al-Shabaab militants, two of them are women and one foreigner. They were going to Almadow hills to join terrorist militants there,” Mohamud said.

He did not identify the nationality of the foreigner but the Somalia-based militants are known to have been fighting along with foreign nationals.


Top U.S. diplomat voices support for Somalia in fighting Al-Shabaab

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has expressed Washington’s support towards flushing out Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia.

A statement from the Somali presidency said Tillerson made the pledge as he held phone talks with Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Tillerson has reaffirmed America’s commitment to support Somalia’s development goals, and cooperate on the efforts to eradicate the threats of terror.

“We are ready to support Somalia and cooperate on eradicating the threats of terror,” said the U.S. top diplomat.

According to the statement, Tillerson gave the assurance that Washington was fully in support of Somalia’s peace and stability efforts.

“We need to embark on the fight against Al-Shabaab with renewed urgency,” Tillerson was quoted as saying in the statement.

U.S. Special Forces and Somali security forces have been conducting joint operations for more than a year as part of American effort to help the Somali government combat insurgents who have increased attacks against on the Western-backed government.


UN says Somalia varsity to expand youth opportunities

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The UN children’s fund, UNICEF on Wednesday welcomed the handover of the Somali National University (SNU)’s main campus to the government as an important step forward in expanding opportunities for youth in Somalia.

Some 300 troops who occupied Somali National University premises were on Tuesday relocated to the African Union base in Jowhar, in an exercise that commenced in April 2016.

“It is important that education and health facilities remain free and disassociated from military use to allow people free access to essential services especially in the current prolonged drought,” UNICEF Somalia Representative Jeremy Hopkins said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

“We should also look to the future. Somali youth make up the majority of the population and a public university offers them a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he added.

The campus had been used by different militaries, and secured by the Burundi contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as a battalion headquarters for more than ten years.

The campus’ buildings and grounds were renovated before the handover. The SNU, which was the first university in Somalia when it was set up in 1954, reopened in 2014 after being closed for more than two decades during the conflict.

Since then students have used its other campuses to study education, law, medicine, and engineering among various subjects.

The re-opening of the SNU was aimed at ensuring the provision of an affordable and high quality education which would expand access to higher education to those who did not have the means to attend one of the many private universities that have proliferated across the country. 



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