Somalia: PM says remittances shutdown by Kenya ‘worry’

Federal Government of Somalia’s Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke said on arrival at Mogadishu’s Adan Ade airport that the shutdown of remittance firms  has piled worry on Somalis, Garowe Online reports. Prime Minister Sharmarke disclosed that Somalia government voiced its concern over the decision to close down money transfer services which have long been a lifeline for the Somalis living in the neighboring country. “We revealed to Kenya leadership that thousands of Somalis whose relatives live abroad are reliant on remittances,” said Sharmarke.”We discussed the ease of money transfer services restrictions, and we hope [Hawalas] will restart operation in the coming weeks in line with banking policies”. Meanwhile, Somalia Prime Minister expressed hope about the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees in Kenya, emphasizing the need for conducive environs before tripartite cooperation between Somalia, Kenya and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “The repatriation of refugees would not be mandatory, it would follow efforts and [Somalia Government] is working on the possible return targets, we will assess security situation and livelihoods,” he added. Prime Minister Sharmarke on Saturday returned from official visit to neighboring Kenya. In early April, Kenya announced assets freeze of individuals and entities suspected to be funding Al Shabaab activities. Somalis abroad are believed to have remitted over $2 billion to Somalia over the last two decades of chaos. Kenya shares porous border into which Al Shabaab militants sneak to conduct terror operations inside, with war-torn Somalia.

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