Somaliland Plans Law Allowing Foreign Banks to Set Up Operations
By Mark Anderson
Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) — Somaliland, a breakaway state in northern Somalia, will pass a banking law early in 2012 establishing a central bank and enabling foreign lenders to begin operations, the speaker of parliament said.
The Central Bank of Somaliland Act, which replaces the 1997 Central Banking Rules and Regulations Act, was presented to lawmakers today in Hargeisa, the capital, where some objections were raised, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi said in an interview today in the city.
“There are few MPs that object to the Act and those who do are only concerned with individual articles,” Abdillahi said. “We are confident that the Act will be passed early next year.”
Somaliland, a former British colony, declared independence from Somalia in 1991, following the ouster of former Somali dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. No sovereign state has formally recognized the area as independent.
Last month, Banque pour le Commerce et l’Industrie-Mer Rouge Chief Executive Officer Ould Amar Yahya held talks with the government about obtaining a license, according to Saad Moussa Djama, BCI’s representative in Somaliland. The lender, based in Djibouti, has had a representative office in Hargeisa since February 2009.
The bank “expects to obtain a full licence immediately after the Commercial Banking Act is passed,” Djama said in an interview on Nov. 21.
CAC Bank, a state-owned Yemeni lender, and Dahabshiil, the Dubai-based money-transfer service, have also contacted Somaliland’s central bank about establishing a presence in the country, Governor Abdi Dirir said in an interview on Nov. 21.