19/10/08 (B470) Garowe On Line / Puntland : des hommes d’affaires du Puntland dénoncent le monopole de négoce du bétail. // Somalia: Puntland business leaders complain about livestock export monopoly (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Business leaders in Somalia’s semiautonomous region of Puntland met with the region’s traditional elders Friday in a bid to avert a growing crisis with the local government, Radio Garowe reported.

The meeting, held at Hotel Karama 2 in the northern port of Bossaso, was attended by members of the business community, intellectuals and traditional elders who wield influence in the region.

Ali Aden Said, a businessman, told the meeting that the Puntland government has « crippled the livestock export industry » by signing a deal with Saudi Arabian company al Jabberi.

Meeting of elders, business leaders/Oct.17

He said it is « unacceptable » for the Puntland leaders to prevent local traders from exporting livestock for profit aboard.

Under the controversial al Jabberi deal, only the Saudi company has the legal right to export Puntland livestock overseas for the next 15 years. READ: Livestock export disagreement deepens in Puntland

Mohamed Huruse, a wealthy trader, accused the government of « being against economic development, » while noting that Puntland leaders « gave an order » to shut down a separate animal quarantine center being built and financed by the region’ s business community.

Meeting of elders, business leaders/Oct.17

Ugas Hassan Ugas Yasin, a traditional elder, told the meeting that the elders and the Puntland government « agreed to have only one animal quarantine, » which belongs to al Jabberi.

The comment angered Mr. Said, who stood up and walked out of the meeting in frustration, according to witnesses.

Another traditional elder, Beeldaaje Ali Farah, attempted to cool off the situation by convincing the business community to wait for a new round of talks to resolve the dispute between business leaders and the Puntland administration.

A press statement issued by the business leaders indicated that the Somali transitional federal government and the Puntland Parliament have been officially informed about the dispute over the al Jabberi deal.

Further, the business leaders’ press statement said that they pay taxes regularly but have been « prevented from investing » in the Puntland economy.

The livestock industry is the backbone of Somalia’s meager economy.