w w w . S o m a l i T a l k . c o m

Kenya signs landmark pact to collect taxes for Somalia

Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya will begin to collect revenue on behalf of the Somali government on all exports and imports into Somalia, following the signing of a landmark agreem ent which would see Nairobi train Somali customs officers, officials said here.

Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetang'ula and Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sharif Adan, also Somali’s Finance Minister, signed the agreement on 18 March, 2009 offering the new Somali government o ne of the foremost institutions that it has lacked for ages.

Kenya’s Revenue Authority (KRA) will offer revenue officers to retrieve revenue on behalf of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) at various exit points within the Kenyan territory to bolster e fforts to set up a stronger Somali government.

“Kenya will provide training opportunities to Somalia civil servants in personnel, revenue collection, security and related fields,” Wetang'ula said in a statement obtained here Friday.

The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday in which Kenya is also offering to provide more technical assistance to the new Somali government to set up institutional structures and other arms of government.

Somalia has a parliament of more than 500 members, mostly bringing together memb ers of the former Islamist Movement, the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts, members of the TFG, the civil society and former prominent wa rlords and their supporters.

Somali President Shariff Sheikh Ahmed met Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki on 9 March on his first official foreign trip since assuming his top post as the leader of Somalia, to discuss technical issues relating to the running of his government in Nairobi.

Wetang’ula expressed optimism on the benefits of the MOU, and said it would address the problems facing the common Somalia civilians.

Under the technical and humanitarian assistance, Kenya will facilitate the TFG w ith the establishment of government structures, institution and capacity building.

Wetang’ula said goods from Kenya bound for Somalia would be taxed on behalf of t he TFG at three exit points before leaving the country.

Wilson Airport, Nairobi’s busiest airport serving regional flights which also ha ndles the bulk of air traffic to Somalia, Mandera and Liboi border points, will be staffed with personnel from KRA and revenue officers from Somalia.

The two countries also formed a joint technical advisory team which will address the immediate needs and ensure implementation of the provisions covered in the MOU.

The deal between the two states comes three years after a similar one was signed between the states on Technical and Economic Agreement in 2005.

The two countries then pledged to cooperate on areas of mutual interest, that is , security, immigration and technical assistance.

Kenyan officials have emphasized on the importance of empowering the people of S omalia to run their country, insisting that the collection of tax is important as it is the cornerstone for operation in any government.

Wetang'ula reiterated the crucial importance of assisting the Somalis achieve ab solute control of their government, since it will boost security in the region, besides improving the quality of life for all citizens of Somalia.
Nairobi - 20/03/2009



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