Setting up functioning, reliable financial systems is an integral part of any state-building process. Systems are, however, worthless, if there are no capable, trained people who can operate and implement them.
The Interim Jubbaland Administration (IJA) recognized that to establish a Ministry of Finance, that can manage and operate both expenditure and revenue activities, they would require assistance with the recruiting process. The Stability Fund engaged a local consulting firm to support the Ministry in recruiting new, capable people to carry out these functions. After agreeing on an initial Ministry of Finance structure, the local company assisted with competitively recruiting 17 staff.
Initial training of the newly recruited civil servants by Stability Fund Advisers occurred in August 2014. Whilst staffing and operating a Ministry of Finance is a critical step to enable the government to manage resources and set priorities, it is not sufficient to enable service delivery to the population. This requires functional ministries staffed by civil servants whose role it is to provide policy advice to government and to implement the government’s priorities.
So how can a civil service be built up from scratch? The starting point has to be an open, merit-based competitive process, where all citizens have the opportunity to participate. To this end, the Stability Fund extended its assistance to help establish a Civil Service Commission (CSC) in each state, where the Commission is charged with administering the competitive recruitment process and establishing the employment conditions of civil servants.
The newly established CSCs have already embarked on recruitments for ministries, using a process that meets the World Bank requirement for open recruitment, that in turn will allow each state to access the Recurrent Cost and Reform Financing PHASE II (RCRF II) – project for reimbursement of salary costs rolled out in October 2015. This represents a significant recognition of progress in establishing sound financial and human resource management in each state in Somalia. Access to RCRF II provides the breathing space for each state to fully establish revenue collection capacity to sustain state operation and enhance services to the citizens over time.
There is no question that the circumstances for state formation in Somalia are unique. Starting from nothing meant that reform was not required. In a recent interview with Mohamud Sheikh Ibrahim Liban, the Permanent Secretary of Jubbaland Ministry of Finance, he discussed how this project is central to an effective central government and financial regulation. ‘’[The] Somalia Stability Fund’s support has created hope in bringing legitimacy of the government to the people in Jubbaland, Somalia and the International community.’’
Acknowledgement by successive states that the Jubbaland model was effective allowed for rapid replication of the approach in South West and Galmudug, without dramatic reconfiguration and added cost. Over time each state will modify the system in place as operating experience is gained and specific variations in circumstances emerge.