Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement in support of President Obama’s request for Economic Support Funds to Somalia:
Washington, D.C. – Last week, Congressman Adam Smith wrote the House Appropriations Committee a letter expressing strong support for the President’s request of $87.7 million in Economic Support Funds to promote stability and economic development in Somalia. Somalia has made meaningful economic and security gains over the last few years and these funds would be targeted towards building government institutions and strengthening civic capacity. This is a key, necessary step to securing the flow of remittances to Somalia in the long-term.
“The need to invest in Somalia’s development has been made clear by the recent situation affecting remittance flows from the U.S. to the country,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Although an immediate solution is needed, we should also simultaneously support the people of Somalia in their efforts to form legitimate, durable institutions.”
On February 6th, Merchants Bank closed the accounts of all Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) to which it provided banking services. This has left Somali Americans in the 9th District and across the country without any secure means to send money back to their families. With U.S. remittances to Somalia making up a large part of the Somalian economy and being the only source of income for many families, this situation threatens the fragile progress made by Somalia.
“While I continue to work with the National Security Council and other federal agencies to find an immediate solution, it is also critical that we look for long-term, sustainable solutions. This investment in Economic Support Funds will help Somalia build a stronger central bank and the robust regulatory institutions necessary to ensure that Somalia can participate in the international banking system in the future.”
Congressman Smith’s letter was co-signed by Congressman Keith Ellison and 9 other members.