Garowe (PP Features) — The run-away inflation in Puntland was the subject the Friday sermon delivered in Garowe today by Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmed Farah. Sheikh Mukhtar deplored insouciance of Puntland State Government towards citizens weighed down by deteriorating living standard.
“There is a marked disparity between the exchange rate in Puntland and other parts of Somalia. 41.50 thousand Somali shillings buys one US dollar in Puntland whereas in other parts of Somalia such as Galmudug, Mogadishu, Kismayo and Baidoa the selling rate of one dollar is 25,000 shillings” said Sheikh Mukhtar. “This exchange rate disparity is what drives up inflation in Puntland. If some people, who receive salaries in dollars, think higher exchage rate benefits them, they had better look at food prices. 1 kg of tomatoes that cost 20,000 shillings few weeks ago now costs 37, 000 shillings. The price of 500 grams of camel meat rose from 90,000 to 180,000 shillings. How can a labourer who earned daily wages of 300,000 shillings eke out a living if a half-kilogram of camel meat costs 180, 000 shilling?” asked Sheikh Mukhtar.
The Sheikh related the story of distraught nomads at Garowe livestock market, who were not able to convert Somali shillings to dollars to buy food and sundries for their families due to the higher exchange rate.
“Why are traditional leaders and politicians indifferent to the plight of citizens? Is it only when a person from a clan gets wounded or killed that traditional leaders and politicians intervene? Why do they turn a blind eye to the suffering of people? Does not the government have responsibility to deal with problems that impinge on social values?” said Sheikh Mukhtar.
The sermon has generated discussions throughout Puntland. Sheikh Mukhtar emphasised rectification as the middle way between calling for total dissolution of “our institutions and indifference to mounting social and economic problems in Puntland”.
© Puntland Post, 2020