MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was aware of the signing of an offshore oil exploration deal with US-based company and has backtracked on the deal following social media backlash, Minister of Petroleum Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed said on Saturday.
In an interview with VOA Somali, the Minister said the government would receive a signing bonus of $7 million within a month after striking the deal with Coastline Exploration, which covers seven offshore blocks in northeastern and southern regions of Somalia.
Key critics of the President, including the leader of Wadajir opposition party Abdirahman Abdishakur said Farmajo had begun “looting” public resources after loosing faith in his attempts to seek re-election.
Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and his Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble on Saturday invalidated an offshore oil exploration deal signed by the Minister of Petroleum Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed with Coastline Exploration Limited.
“We are pleased that we have signed 7 Production Sharing Agreement with Coastline Exploration LTD. It is a victory for the Somali people. I thank the President of FGS for supporting the process and encouraging us to complete this task,” Somali Minister of Petroleum tweeted on Saturday.
Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said the agreement was null and void, and promised to take appropriate measures amid an escalating row with the President.
“The alleged production sharing agreement purportedly signed by the Minister of Petroleum with a foreign entity regarding Somali oil reserves is illegal, unacceptable since it wasn’t done through legal avenues. I will take all appropriate measures to protect our national resources,” Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said.
The minister said he had inked the deal at the behest of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is seeking re-election. But Farmajo said in a statement that the deal was invalid.
“The Presidency of FGS declares nullification of Petroleum pact signed by the Minister on behalf of FGS,” the president’s office tweeted.
“The deal contravenes Presidential Decree 7/8/2021 which bans the inking of deals during elections so as to protect public resources from exploitation during the elections.”
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