News: Somali region says allocation of emergency budget to border security hampered response to drought

Photo: WFP

By Firaol Bersisa @FiraolBer

Addis Abeba – Muhedin Abdi Farah, deputy head of the Somali regional finance bureau, told a local news agency that the region’s response to the drought was weakened because it was forced to allocate the entirety of the emergency budget to the protection of national borders previously guarded by federal forces who were sent off to war in the north. 

“The Eastern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces was dispatched to the war, subsequently, regional forces including police and militia took the mission of protecting the 2500 kilometers long national borders,” Muhedin said. 

Muhedin also said that 2.5 billion ETB of anticipated revenue has not been gathered because of the drought. Furthermore, pressures caused by the drought have caused the regional state to borrow 500 million ETB, an amount to be deducted from the. budget allocation for the next fiscal year, according to the deputy head of the region’s finance bureau. 

He further alluded that 1.2 million cattle had died in the region as a result of the drought and potential revenue from cattle sales has negatively impacted the collection of the aforementioned amount of revenue. 

According to Muhedin, a budget of 1.8 billion allocated to building new infrastructure projects on water, education, health, and related affairs was also diverted to mitigate the problems caused by the drought.   

The Somali region has been battling one of the worst droughts to date, the drought has resulted in the deaths of over a million cattle and impacted people in the thousands. International partners, including the United States, are delivering humanitarian assistance to the region, even though it was previously reported that 275 million USD was remaining to meet the prevailing needs. AS

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