The President of the Republic of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, has started making cash payments to business owners affected by Waaheen Fire. The cash distribution program unveiled at the Presidency on Saturday has so far paid out $1,872,511 US dollars to 988 business owners whose capital was valued between 73 to 5000 US dollars by the Waaheen market committee.
Somaliland government has kick-started the recovery of Waaheen with a million dollars pledged by President Bihi immediately after the market fire and additional funding of 8 million dollars has been pledged by Somaliland businesses. In addition, President Bihi has accepted around 12 million dollars from the World Bank, which has been frozen by Somalia’s government.
Sahamiye Foundation, founded by World Remit founder Mr. Ismail Ahmed has distributed 313,700 US dollars to 761 female traders affected by the Waaheen fires.
Mr. Ismail Ahmed thanks the Mayor of Hargeisa for taking action against local government workers for allegedly charging a percentage to the traders in exchange for verifying their identities as business owners who were affected by the Waaheen fires. It is unclear if guardrails and oversight mechanisms have been established by the Somaliland government to keep corruption at bay and ensure that funds go to those affected by Waaheen Fires.
Corruption in the form of a registration fee or changing the amount intended for aid recipients is a common practice in Somaliland.
Besides the efforts to replace the loss of capital for small business owners of Waaheen, the Somaliland government is working to build out new temporary markets while clean-up and rebuilding activities are being scoped out by the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in close coordination with Hargeisa Municipality.