Somaliland’s government hired private security experts to help improve safety after Genel Energy Plc suspended operations in the semi-autonomous region citing growing instability, Foreign Minister Mohamed Bihi Yonis said.
Somalia’s federal government, seeking to reassert control over the war-ravaged country, said oil exploration licenses issued by regional governments in the Somaliland and Puntland regions of country are invalid.
Somaliland is optimistic that a search for oil by Genel Energy Plc, run by former BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward, will find commercial quantities of crude, Mines and Energy Minister Hussein Abdi Dualeh said.
Somaliland’s central bank will begin exchanging 7 billion Somali shillings ($4.37 million) of notes for its own currency next month as part of a plan to stop using the Somali currency in the autonomous region by mid-June.
The central bank of Somaliland, a breakaway republic in northern Somalia, expects lawmakers to enact a draft banking law by June, enabling commercial lenders to extend credit to borrowers for the first time.
Somaliland plans to step up efforts for international recognition on expectations that a referendum on independence in Southern Sudan will aid its campaign for statehood, Foreign Minister Mohamed A Omar said.
Somaliland, the semi-autonomous region in northern Somalia, expects to conclude a project- sharing agreement with Ophir Energy Plc, amid efforts to develop the territory’s potential oil deposits, an official said.
The deadly assault this week in Nairobi by a militant group from Somalia serves as a reminder of the threats emanating from the war-torn East African country that remains a hotbed for pirate attacks on key shipping routes.