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Public Financial Management

Speech by Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås at the Somalia Conference in London, 7th of May.

 

Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås i London (Somalia-konferanse)

Galab Wanaagsan,

Dear Chairs and Colleagues,

I am glad to see the sun of Mogadishu shining on London today. It’s a beacon drawing our eyes to Somalia and it is too a signal to act.

We have spoken on the hope that lies in the opportunity of dealing with the most democratic, accountable and committed federal government for as long time as we, or at least I can remember.

But - ladies and gentlemen - this government cannot do miracles.

Further improving security, service delivery, infrastructure, cooperation across regions, and respect for human rights, including the freedom of speech, equal rights for women including protection of women from sexual violence - all of these tasks of the Government are very, very ambitious.

We all heard the President earlier today. He is right.

The Somalia Government faces a pressing fiscal problem. It needs to pay salaries to public employees if it is to present itself as a credible entity; it needs to deliver tangible development assistance in order to build public confidence and to reverse the negative reputation of its predecessors. Donors understand this, but it will take them time to respond – and time is not a luxury that we do not have. 

That is why Norway has decided to assist the Somali Government in establishing a temporary multi-donor Trust Fund, called the Special Financing Facility – SFF. This facility will allow donors to contribute support to the Government now - until the UN and World Bank are ready to assume this role and take over. We are happy that you, Minister, believe it is a good idea.

This financing facility serves three purposes:
  1. Right to prioritize for the Government by giving them the liquidity.
  2. Builds capacity - by having experts walking side by side with government officials.
  3. Enhances transparency and accountability thereby working against corruption and providing the international community with adequate risk management.

The SFF should be understood as an integral part of Somalia’s public financial management reform process, and as the first practical evidence that this Government is different from those preceding it.

This is public money—to be managed in a transparent, professional manner, supervised by experts.

In a country ridden by corruption and war economy - this is the seed of an economy of peace.

Minister it is unusual for a government coming to power after years of turbulence to focus so clearly on reforming its public financial management. You are staking your legitimacy on your performance in this area.

Every journey starts with a first step, and setting up the fund, and at the same time making sure that it has a solid foundation when it comes to accountability and transparency – we consider this to be a good first step for Somalia and its relation to the Somali people and the International Community.

I am glad to announce Norway’s $30-million contribution to the opening of the Fund. We are committed. I will humbly invite more of you on-board. It is only by joining together, as Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said, we will support the government, so they gain the leverage they need in order to fulfil the hope of the Somali, so they can experience the change they deserve.

The sun shines on London - the same sun shines on Mogadishu. Let the same commitment that we are showing here today, be visible to the people of Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia.

(Image: Minister of International Development  Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås at the Somalia Conference in London, Astrid Sehl, MFA)

 

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