In the first part of his interview, Dr. Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi acquainted our readers with his family background and his formation years, expressed his view of Modern Somali History up to the beginning of Civil War, and focused on parts of his national reconciliation program and on his basic policies with respect to Governance in Somalia. In the second part, Dr. Zakaria Haji Abdi explored the nature of the 21-year long Somali civil war, shed light on his commitment within the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia and the national liberation struggle, and gave an outline of his policies as regards Somali National Security and the presence of foreign troops on Somali territory. |
In the present and last part of his interview, Dr. Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi focuses on other parts of his national rehabilitation project.
- Two decades of civil war destroyed the economy of Somalia. How do you plan to boost the economy, if selected as President of Somalia? Dr. Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi - A steady economic growth will be the engine to drive our development. Therefore, I will seek to invest properly in the productive sectors, to encourage private investment and entrepreneurship, and to create an efficient tax collection system to raise revenue for the government. To sustain our growth and development, I will diversify our revenue base.
I am convinced that small businesses have to receive the right degree of governmental support and then be fully accountable to the government. Community organizations will be strongly supported to create employment within local communities and speed up service delivery.
Our taxation system will be based on transparency. Somalia will research, develop, legislate and mandate a modern taxation system that is fair and just on the national and regional level.
Our economic policy will attract the right type of private investment into road construction, which in turn will create employment and contribute to reducing the number of the jobless. In fact, tar-surfaced roads are costly only in the short-term, but are much, much cheaper in the long run.
Our thoughtful, reasonable and consistent investment in Somalia’s public infrastructure will surely create sustainable, good paying jobs for our citizens. Our investments in healthcare, education, and security will open our economy up in unimaginable ways, and this in turn will propel Somalia to an economically secure future.
My government will invest in a nationwide public works campaign that will smartly use public funds in community development projects.
Let me add that I will invest heavily in our nation’s agricultural sector. I will encourage training for agriculture “pickers”, incentives for the canning industry, urban farming campaign, agro-industrial development and modernized legislation on agricultural issues.
- How important is Environment for you, and how do you plan to improve Somalia’s greatly damaged natural environment?
Dr. Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi – As result of combined local and external predatory activities Somalia’s environment has been greatly damaged, if not destroyed in many aspects during the last two decades. The country is currently suffering from severe desertification, deforestation, extinction of wildlife, coral reef destruction, marine resource depilation, chemical and nuclear waste dumping.
If elected, I will immediately outlaw any deforestation and overgrazing activities, call for national environmental restoration campaign through reforestation projects, wildlife conservation, and marine protection programs.
- During the two decades of civil war, Somalia’s urban centers were heavily destroyed. What will your Housing and Town Planning policy be?
Dr. Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi – I will exercise my authority to make sure that proper town planning is scrupulously made and thoroughly implemented and that all construction and building activities comply with set town plans and safety standard requirements. Implementation will be strict and without favor and corruption.
I believe that all citizens of Somalia have right to an adequate shelter, and I will support sustainable housing and planning that provides basic shelter to the people, using our own resources. I will use globally best practices to develop low income housing for the nation’s private and social landlords to build new houses, so as to make housing accessible and affordable for all.
- What will your educational policy be?
Dr. Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi – Our educational system will be modernized and made relevant to the needs of all the people. There will be no room for unproductive elitism. I believe in productive education that is capable of solving the real problems that our country faces. Education will be compulsory and free from pre-school (kinder garden) until age 18. Accountability will be the cornerstone of our new educational system.
My target is to reduce class sizes to 30 pupils, by building more schools, training more teachers, and providing more up-to-date educational facilities. Providing free public schools facilitates the introduction of truancy legislation. Parents will be required to send their children to school.
Civic education will be there to foster nationalism, whereas systematic plans of adult education will help improve employability and good citizenship. Through employability and employment opportunities, every citizen will be able to fend for themselves, and dependency rate will be significantly reduced.
Higher Education and Universities will have the necessary support to engage in research, scientific, and technological progress and design.
I will promote sports through youth activities during Primary and Secondary Education in order to encourage positive participation and competition which in turn will boost our representation on the world platform.
Continual improvement will be ensured by a National Centre for Professional Development that will be tasked to improve, update and modernize the skills of the Somali teachers.
Through proper legislation, I will foster a national literacy-based library system with focus on “learning to read” then “reading to learn”.
Furthermore, I will strongly promote technical and vocational education. Technical & Trade Schools will be established in every region; the technical & trade school system will place heavy emphasis on agriculture, engineering and other relevant skills necessary for the progression of the nation.
Somalia Universities will be open and fully operational. Young people will be provided tuition assistance upon completion of their community service.
I believe that special emphasis must be placed on quality education for our nation’s girls. Our administration will create a Special Assistant to the President for Women’s & Girls’ Affairs. This position will be empowered to ensure that girls and women will receive favorable policies in education and across-the-board.
- I would like to end this interview with Health. This is a very critical issue, because during the civil war, developments took place that gravely affected the health of a great number of Somalis. What will be your first plans and policies with respect to National Health?
Dr. Zakaria Mohamed Haji Abdi – First, as I view things in perspective, I will emphasize on preventative health, and promote healthcare through targeted health education. I will then ensure equitable allocation of governmental resources to reduce disparities in health status; furthermore, I will increase the cost effectiveness and the cost efficiency of resource allocation and use. I will ensure the development of effective regulatory and inspection mechanisms to protect the public from health injuries and loss of lives related to substandard health services. It goes without saying it, I will eliminate corruption in the health sector, and increase access to medicines.
In addition, I will devolve healthcare system management, procurement and financing. I will review the health financing policies and invest in the National Health Security Services as a key national health financing mechanism that will progressively ensure equal access to the basic health services for the poor and the needy. I will improve the health service infrastructure to ensure better access to healthcare, particularly in the historically disadvantaged areas.
On the other hand, I will introduce better management structures to ensure efficiency in the management of the healthcare institutions and systems. I will create an enabling environment for increased private sector and community involvement in health service provision and finance. As I greatly value our healthcare human resources, I aim to train more professionals and paramedical workers, while enhancing their terms and conditions of service and remuneration.
I will continue to manage population growth and I will increase the efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS to improve and increase the lives of those infected, and reduce the number of those getting infected every year.
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