Somaliland Govt arrests foreign workers in retail business

Director-General of the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Tourism of Somaliland Mustafe Mohamoud Ali (Bile), said police have arrested foreign traders while working in Tog-Wajaale, a business town along the border with Ethiopia. He said the arrested individuals are from China, Germany, Portugal, Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen.

Director-General said the country’s law does not allow foreign traders to operate in retail businesses in Somaliland.

Speaking to the media in his office, Mustafe said: that the Ministry of Trade has recently received complaints from local traders concerning a large number of foreigners trading in Tog-Wajaale and Hargeisa markets.

 He said the ministry did an inspection and went to Tog-Wajale where they saw a large number of Chinese businessmen and others, who were doing businesses in both retail and wholesale, and doing low-skilled jobs.

In Tog-Wajaale alone, the director-general said illegal traders of Chinese, German, Sudanese, Portuguese, Yemeni, Egyptian and other Arabs were detained by police in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industries of Somaliland, without giving an exact number of apprehended foreigners.

Mustafe said although doing business in Somaliland is free but it is important that both foreigners and citizens abide by the law, and special warning to foreigners to avoid operating in small businesses that citizens have enough skills.

Even though Somaliland experiences one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world around 70%, it hosts hundreds of high-skilled foreign workers from India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Sudan, and Egypt. While thousands of refugees from Yemen, Syria, and Ethiopia are doing low-skill jobs in restaurants, Taxi-business, and retailing. And this latest move from the Somaliland government will negatively affect refugees from Yemen, Syria, and Ethiopia.