On behalf of the Benadir Regional Administration and Mogadishu Municipality, I would like to wish all Somali people around the globe, the Muqdishawi people, friends of the region and our development partners, a very Happy and blessed New Year, may the year ahead bring prosperity and be filled with auspicious blessings. Reflecting on 2017, we can all attest that it has been a challenging year, where we made great strides but also felt much heartache.
Somalia witnessed its worst attack in Mogadishu, home to 3 million residents. The carnage and pain of the October 14th attack was an attack, not only in Mogadishu or affecting only its residents, but rather affecting all Somalis worldwide. The response and support received from our friends, brothers and sisters and our international partners globally were unprecedented. It was a testament to the unbreakable unified bond we have, especially during times of tragedy and hardship.
Through this, we have learned and shown that unity is paramount and the key to every success we hope to achieve. Through this unity, we have been able to work together successfully in achieving measurable milestones in 2017. We have reformed the unreformable and as a result, we have delivered tangible services to the people in Mogadishu.
We have instituted a culture of transparency, by fighting graft and tackling Human Resource (HR) and Public Financial Management (PFM) reforms, which includes adopting a paperless payroll system for quick payments through the banking system and for the first time, having a hiring process which is competitive and merit-based. We placed great emphasis on good governance and fighting corruption, because the reality is, it affects economic development and service delivery.
It impedes and hampers development efforts that benefit everyone, therefore it is everyone’s responsibility and right, to do their utmost, to uphold transparency and integrity, and fight corruption, exploitation and all other social ills that plague our nation.
In keeping with my promise, for the first time ever since 1991, my administration developed and published a comprehensive and a credible semi-annual budget in the last six months of 2017. I have made it a point for our administration to be self-sufficient in providing resources to the delivery of social services and also have been able to self-fund the implementation of our new financial management information system (BRA-FMIS) to spearhead our PFM reform. We are committed to show and work through a system that is transparent and accountable to the people that we serve.
Employment is an important concern for our growing population, especially where Mogadishu is home to the largest youth population. As a result, my administration has created employment opportunities for 3000 youth, including displaced young men and women.. We believe that there are many talented and qualified people in Benadir Region, and have integrated them through employment programs in our administration. Local talent has increased our human capital, and we hope to increase that through more sustainable employment programs and opportunities in the coming year.
Looking Ahead In 2018, as part of our PFM reform, we are decentralizing services to our residents by making automated public service centers accessible to the people at all 17 districts. Services such as IDs, birth certificates, business licenses, building permits and the like, are delivered quickly, efficiently and are available in all 17 districts of Benadir Region.
Our long-term vision aims to continue bringing more services to the people by improving municipal operations and these priorities will continue into the coming year. Some of the important aspects we strive to deliver in all 17 districts are:
Improve Security and Justice agencies
Streamline revenue mobilization
Institutional capacity building
Invest in infrastructure development (roads, water, drainage etc.)
Improve and expand social services such as free education and health
Our main focus in 2018 is to bring security and social justice to the people in Benaadir and we understand that development is not a policy issue but the core of security and justice. My administration is committed to working harder for the people of this great city and region as we continue to lay the foundation for new development. Our new formulated plans will address many of our districts lingering neighborhood security challenges and concerns.
As you know, we have completed consultations from the 17 districts about the vision of Mogadishu and Benaadir region. We are now ready to share and consult the way forward about the outcome from the 17 districts with Muqdishawis on January 7th and I hope all Somalis from different walks of society participate in this important discussion.
I cannot deny that there will be some challenges ahead on this long road, however, by remaining focused and united, we will respond to any challenges that we might face in the near future as great residents of this wonderful region and walk together in determination and purpose.
I want to thank all the residents, including all within the business community, partners and everyone who calls Mogadishu home. I also implore that all in the public and private sector, continue to work hard, by being the wings of improvement and ushering in change that seeks to translate into social justice, equality and success for all. Sustainability lies in us working together side-by-side and united towards secure and sustainable peace.
In closing, I would like the residents of Benaadir Region to know that my team and our dedicated staff are here for you, and if you have any issues about your district or the region in general, you should get in touch with us. While we cannot promise to be able to solve every problem, we will always endeavor to do our very best to achieve some sort of positive outcome. I’m looking forward to the coming year and I feel honored to serve you and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2018.