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Somalia begins to amass national wealth after defeating piracy
Xinhua
Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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Somalia is beginning to build its national tax revenue from imported goods with the new freight building up at the Port of Mogadishu.

For the first time since the country slid into anarchy, container arrivals hit more than 1,200 in March 2013.

"The new wind that is flowing around the country is getting to the Port. There is a new window of hope for the entire country," said Ahmed Abdi Kaarie, the Mogadishu Seaport Deputy General Manager, pleased about the return of the maritime industry's shipping liners to Mogadishu.

The Port of Mogadishu was hit by war and piracy that kept off international shipping liners away from its coastline.

State officials are in talks with several international investors to modernize it in readiness for the cargo buildup that is critical in helping to revitalize the stalled national economy.

However, the growing traffic has already encouraged the port authorities to levy a development tax of about five percent on every container to help the port authorities raise the funds required to equip.

"The strategy is to grow by more than 95 percent every year to make Mogadishu seaport the treasure port, the five percent fee is acceptable. It is what will lead us to purchase new machines and equipment that we need to carry out the work and meet our long- term growth objectives," Kaarie said in Mogadishu late on Monday.

Somalia's Finance Ministry is yet to compute the annual gross domestic product growth that will build up from the past few months of trade generated by the Port.

But the new port figures show in March, the number of freight ship docking at the Port more than doubled to 40 from an average of 15.

Averagely, each cargo ship brings in goods with a conservative value of 5 million US dollars, which means trade generated from the renewed activity would easily hit 200 million dollars a month.

"We are pleased the people of the world believe in the peace we have in Somalia and are acting in solidarity with us," the Port official said.

For the first time in more than five years, the efforts of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in stabilizing the country is starting to bear fruit.

AMISOM Force Commander Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti attributed the drop in the scale of piracy attacks on the enhanced security on land and the ongoing piracy patrols along the vast coast.

The World Bank said in a rare report launched jointly with the government that Somalia has massively due to piracy and its effects on trade.

Somalia itself has also suffered considerably from the impact of piracy. Increased trade costs are estimated to cost the country 6 million dollars annually.

This excludes the lost maritime trade and fisheries opportunities caused by the fact that pirates dominated the waters.

About 3,741 crewmembers of 125 different nationalities have been captured, with detention periods as long as 1,178 days.

Over 97 sailors may have died either during the attacks, in detention after poor treatment, or during rescue operations and hundreds of pirates are believed to have died at sea.


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