HirShabelle President Ali Abdullahi Osoble has accused Puntland of flooding his state with counterfeit Somali notes plunging traders into massive losses as they hold on to fake notes exchanged for thousands of US dollars.
Speaking during a meeting with traders who displayed counterfeit Somali shilling notes estimated in the range of over one hundred million in Beledweyne, Osoble said the fake currency had robbed traders of their hard earned cash and caused run-away inflation.
“Today we converge here to get first-hand information on the extent of the business crisis affecting the people of Hiiraan especially the local traders including dry food dealers, farmers and livestock sellers. What we see here are people robbed of their wealth and exchanged with papers. These people have business connection mostly with Puntland state” said President Osoble.
Traders displayed Somali shilling notes which they said they got in exchange of US dollars. “I was conned of Somali Shillings 80 million ($3,480) through fake money exchange from Puntland” says Abdi Musa Sigaale, a local trader.
“The people of Hiiraan have been swindled of their dollars through fake papers disguised as Somali Shillings. I have with me now Somali Shillings 180 million (US$ 7,830) said to be fake money” another trader said.
Traders in Puntland and central Somalia have in the past months complained of fake notes which have led to high rates of inflation driving the economy on the down ward stream especially at a time the country is fighting an on-going drought.
Early this month the financial crisis started in Hiiraan region when the local traders refused to accept Somali shillings over reports the notes were fake.
The Puntland government is reported to have authorized the printing of fake Somali shilling notes in 2015 to offset salary arrears for the military who had mutinied a number of times over unpaid salaries.
The Federal Central Bank warned of inflation following the printing of the notes. “Counterfeit money will spur economic problems, unethical acts and wrongdoings,” said central bank governor Bashir Isse Ali in 2015.