Somalia legislators have been working without pay for the last six months, a member of parliament has revealed.
Prof Mohamed Omar Dalha who is a MP of Lower Shebele, said 550 MPs who serve in the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia are a miserable lot owing to the refusal of the international community to pay their allowances.
Prof Dalha added that this was despite the international community slashing their allowances from $1,800 per month to $600 in 2009.
The transitional government, he said, depends on financial support from the international community for its operations since it cannot collect taxes as peace was still elusive in the country battered by war.
He said it was a huge blunder for the international community to have pushed for the doubling of MPs’ numbers from 275 to 550 as the wage bills skyrocketed.
“When the MPs were 275, the international community used to pay us $1,800 each per month without any problems,” Prof Dalha who served as a cabinet minister and deputy speaker during former president Yusuf Abdillahi’s regime said.
“But since the MPs were doubled to 550 we are unable to recieve even the $600 allowances per month subjecting us into intolerable suffering,” he lamented.
The MPs, he said, were unable to meet their families’ needs nor their accommodation and food expenses since they stay in hotels in the wake of the frequent fights between the islamist group Al Shabaab and the government forces.
“I wonder how the MPS would be able to fight for peace when they themselves are walking in hungry stomachs,” he explained.
He noted that the transitional government was facing a daunting task of restoring peace, the battered infrastructure and severe famine triggered by severe drought.
At least 2 million people, he added, in parts of South West and Central Somalia are faced with starvation owing to crop failure.
“Millions of villagers are facing starvation as they harvested nothing last season due to prolonged drought. They are in dire need of help,” he said.
The MP appealed to the international community to come to the plight of Somali leaders to help in the restoration of peace and rebuilding the war-torn nation.