According to a directive issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, the cost of registering a business in Somaliland by both citizens and foreign nations will be cut by 50%. The directive adds that the discounting of registering businesses in Somaliland is due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the discounting of registering a business in Somaliland would be a welcome relief for a new business venture, the process itself is arcane and may require dealing with multiple government agencies such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Finance and possibly others.

The directive from Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Hon. Mohamoud Hassan Saad (Saajin) hints at a one-stop-shop business registration and licensing process but does not offer details on when and how it will streamline the process of registering a new business in Somaliland.

On multiple occasions, the Somaliland government, with the help of the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) of the World Bank Group – One Stop Shop (OSS) Project which was supposed to support Somaliland government service delivery and centralization of business registration processes to avoid dealing with multiple disjointed bureaucracies.

In February 2018, IFC has contracted WYG a consultancy firm to develop an online business registration and licensing system for the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism. However, the project was not successful and IFC has reportedly terminated WYG consulting service for delivery and implementation purposes.

According to sources, previous attempts were completely botched due to differences in the implementation of the One-Stop-Shop project between the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism and the International Finance Cooperation.

Sources added that the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Hon. Saajin has lost patience with International Finance Cooperation for the development of the One-Stop-Shop platform and digitalization of business registration services thus hampering and IFC and MoCIT relations.

It is worth mentioning that IFC has advertised a request for expression of interest for the implementation of online business registration and licensing system in June 2020.

Removing unnecessary hurdles from establishing a new business in Somaliland is a critical step in creating a climate conducive to business in Somaliland that may help attract direct foreign investment from small to medium foreign companies.

Despite repeated promises by the Ministry of Telecommunication and Technology to implement an e-government service, so far Somaliland government does not offer any online services including registering a business.

Efforts to reach the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Hon. Mohamoud Hassan Saad (Saajin), IFC, and other officials for comments were unsuccessful.

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