Somali Companies Face Ban for Paying Tax to Shabab

Somali minister for commerce and industry Jibril Abdirashid.

Somali companies and business owners who are found to be financially assisting and supporting the insurgent group al-Shabab will have their licenses revoked.

The minister of commerce and industry, Jibril Abdirashid, said Saturday the government will not tolerate business people’s illegal financial dealings with al-Shabab.

“Those who are found to not follow the government directive, legal and constitutional action will be taken against them. The government will revoke the registration and business licenses found to violate the order. A business owner found to obey al-Shabab orders or financially supporting al-Shabab will not operate any business in Somalia,” he said.

In August, the Somali government launched an all-out war against al-Shabab in central regions to capture territories.

“The ministry orders all business owners not to cooperate, facilitate and provide financial assistance to al-Shabab. The business owners cannot follow the terror group orders, a group that is against the stability and the existence of the country and the people of Somalia,” Abdirashid said.

Somali officials also warned business people not to run or manage al-Shabab operations in the country. The government said that such businesses associated with the militant group would be taken over. 

Some Somali business owners have found it difficult to avoid illegal al-Shabab taxation, and those who refuse to pay are killed or their goods are burned.

In its 2020 and 2021 report, the UN panel of experts on Somalia said al-Shabab extorted businesses and individuals working at Mogadishu port.

The UN investigators said the group obtained information on business imports and exports through a network of infiltration.

The commerce minister claim there are individuals and four companies working at the port sharing the information of business people and goods coming to the country with al-Shabab. Abdirashid said he will seek the cancellation of the licenses of four companies.

The lack of financial systems in the Horn of Africa has made the group exploit loopholes to make money and finance its terror operations.