I was forced to speak out today against the recent appointment of the Chief of Central Bank of Somalia because I am fully aware that proper processes and procedures were not followed through the selection process. Let me start though the primary function of Central Banks before I get to that.
Ideally, a Central Bank (CB) is an independent institution, which works with government at arms’ length. Unlike other banks, CB has no customers: it’s the bank of banks and loans money to member banks to spend and loan to their customers.
Among the primary responsibility of CB is setting the monetary policy through utilising wide-ranging instruments to intervene, influence and stimulate market activities.
These include, inter alia, lowering and raising interest rates; lowering banks’ reserve rates (the amount of money banks hold as a deposit) to allow them spend more and loan more money to their customers; buying and selling bonds and securities; and above all printing money.
Central Bank of Somalia is not there yet though! In large part, its independence, which is a key requirement to gain trust has been tampered by successive government interferences – to which the latest CBS Chief appointment makes even more difficult for it to become a credible institution.
This farcical and fraudulent process by which PM Khayre handpicked one of his underlings to lead this important institution will indeed hamper CBS from future growth and from expanding to regional states.
I am aware, from well-placed sources, that seven (7) candidates were shortlisted including two foreigners (an Egyptian woman and Briton, Nigel Roberts). Abdirahman Dheere was not among them. How then has he been appointed? I would not mind his appointment even if he has applied for the job. HE DID NOT!
Let’s have a look atAbdirahman’s background and what skillset he will bring to this position. Abdirahman’s career spans from being an Oslo Metro Bus Driver along with PM Khayre in early 1990s; worked at Dahabshiil as a side job; in 1998 co-owned a restaurant with PM Khayre in Oslo, which did not take off; and was hooked by Khayre to work with him at NRC in Yemen – to being a policy advisor (as his most recent job) at the PMO just before his CBS appointment. Can you believe this is the man we have been told that he was selected from a pool of 146 brilliant candidates? Give me break!
Dr Bayle and Dr Ali Isse, who were the head of the selection panel owe an explanation to Somali people of how they ended up with this poor outcome. They should tell us, while we know it, who hijacked the process? And what actions did they take, if any, to prevent it from happening, and among others?
While I maintain my loyalty with N&N govt, I cannot remain silent at this shambolic appointment!
I will conclude, given that Somalia is now emerging from decades long civil war, which destroyed most public institutions and infrastructures including CBS, and given that we are starting everything from scratch, to recover from this very quickly, it is required that we should let go our egos and personal ambitions and put our national interests above everything else . We should also build formidable public institutions, which are apolitical, headed by the best and brightest minds among us. This is not big ask, I suppose!
Sharmaarke Abdi Farah