Al-Shabaab Raises Revenue inside Kenya, Expert Says

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Former advisor to Somalia president Hussein Moalin said Al-Shabaab extended its revenue collection systems to areas inside Kenya, after recent report by a Mogadishu-based Hiraal Institute disclosed how the group raises as much annual revenue as the Somali federal government.

In an interview with Universal TV, Mr Moalim who was a member of experts behind recent report published by Hiraal Institute reiterated that the militant group collects $15m a month by levying taxes on all types of businesses, NGOs, ports and even government employees.

In addition to its Somalia taxpayers, the militant group also established taxation systems inside areas it controls in Kenya where Al-Shabaab raises money from vehicles traveling along major highways.

Al-Shabaab has been fighting Somali government and its foreign allies for more than a decade. The group now controls much of southern and central Somalia, having also achieved to extend its influence into areas controlled by the federal government based in Mogadishu.

According to recent report published by Hiraal Institute, the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group is “running a major financial surplus” unlike the federal government as the amount of money it collects increases yearly, whilst its operational costs remain fairly static.

Businesses in central and southern Somalia pay both Al-Shabaab and the Mogadishu-based federal government.

Major companies in Somalia give the jihadists money, both in the form of monthly payments and a yearly “zakat” (obligatory alms) of 2.5% of annual profits, says the recent report. Mr Moalim argues that the way group extracts money from the population is a far more modern than the administration’s, having the power to levy taxes on the ports of Mogadishu, Bosaso and Kismayo, all outside its control.

State employees and Mogadishu seaport are major sources of revenue for the militant group, who tax imports after getting the cargo ships’ manifests from port officials. Hiraal Institute says many government employees give a part of their salaries to Al-Shabaab, hoping that their lives will be spared.

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