SOMALILAND ROADS & TRAFFIC LAWS
08/02/2014: Ministerial Order Implementing Traffic Law Provisions dated 21 November 2013. The Order relates to the ban of the use of buses with entrances on the left side, the compulsory yearly vehicle tests and the enforcement of possession of valid driving licences. The Order came into force on 1 January 2014.
06/04/2013: The Somaliland Traffic Law 2013 - Xeerka Wadda Marista Gadiidka (Xeer Lr. 56/2013) has been signed into Law, on 30 March 2013, by the President. It shall be published in the Somaliland Official Gazette dated 6 April 2013. As set out in Article 114, the Law comes into force on the signature by the President and publication in the Gazette.
[For historical purposes only: 10/09/12: Traffic Code bill debated by the House of Representatives. Copy of the Traffic Code Bill (2012) - smaller pdf file.]
The main Somaliland Traffic laws were the Traffic Ordinance No. 13 of 1937 as amended over the years and the various Traffic Rules issued under the Ordinance. In 1962, the Somali Republic Traffic Code, Legislative Decree No: 4 of 16 December 1962 and has been in use Somaliland until the new Somaliland Traffic Law came into force in April 2013. Copies of the 1962 Code are available here for historical purposes:
- 1962 Traffic Code Legislative Decree No. 4 of 16 December 1962 - in English language (some of the pages are faint).
- ARABIC version of the 1962 Traffic Code (Qanun almaroor) with updates 1972: Please note that the beginning is at the end of the document. This a large pdf document.
The Compulsory motor insurance laws have gone it disuse. The last such law was the Compulsory Third Party Motor Insurance Law - Law No. 20 of 15 January 1973
The Roads Development Levies Law 2013 (Law No. 64/2013)
On 24th September 2013, the House of Representatives passed the controversial Roads Development Levies Law (Law No. 64/2013) on a vote of 58 for, 8 against and 3 abstaining. Exceptionally also the President signed the law later on the same day and the law shall now be coming into force as soon as it is published in the Official Gazette shortly in early October. As the law is essentially a revenue raising Bill (a financial bill), the House of Elders has no role in such financial legislation (see Article 54(1) read with Article 61(2) and 78(1)&(5)).
The House of Representatives have during a lengthy and acrimonious debate amended the bill the following areas:
1.in article 5, proposed dollar levies on livestock have been changed to Somaliland shillings as follows –
a) Shoats- 3500 SL Shs instead of USD1 per head.
b) Cattle - 14,000 SL Shs instead of USD 3 per head.
c) Camels -14,000 SL Shs instead of USD5 per head.
2. In article 6 the vehicle levies were changed as follows –
a) Small vehicles of less than 3 tons - 80,000 SL Shs every 6 months instead of USD15.50 every 3 months.
b) Large vehicles over 3 tons - 300,000 SL Shs every 6 months instead of 5 years dollars every months.
3. Article 6 was amended to include a requirement that all the levies are added to the national yearly budget.
4. A new Article 10 was inserted which requires the government to submit to Parliament within 15 months the establishment bill of the independent Somaliland Roads Authority.
5. A new Article 11 was inserted which states that the House of Representatives shall review the levies imposed under this law six months after the President signs the Law.
Other provisions of the Law:
1. The purposes of the law are set out in Article 3 and are essentially the raising of funds to repair the existing paved roads and to build new arterial roads which are necessary for development and for access to the regions of the country.
2. The collection of the levies shall be undertaken in line with Chapter I and II of title IV of the Body of Laws on Direct Taxation (Law No. 86/96) and other relevant revenue laws.
3. Any litigation arising from the levies shall be dealt with and that the relevant civil and criminal procedure codes and any infringements of the law shall be dealt with under the penalties set out in Title III of the Body of Laws and Direct Taxation (Law No. 86/96) and any other relevant laws.
4. In addition to the powers of the Auditor General under the Auditor Generalﾒs Law (Law No. 05/98) and other relevant laws, the Auditor General shall also have the power to investigate and audit the revenues to be raised under this Law.
Roads Development Levies and the 1996 Direct Taxation Law
Articles 8 and 9 of the new Roads Development Levies Law refer to the 1996 Law in connection with both the collection of the levies and the enforcement for non-payment. Article 124 of the 1996 Law states that ‘the enforcement proceedings provided for in Chapter II, Title IV shall be applicable to all taxes of the State’ and to all tax related proceedings which are dealt with by the Regional Courts. On the collection side, however, the 1996 Law primarily addresses direct income related taxes and perhaps it would have been clearer if this new Law stated that as far as applicable the provisions of the 1996 Law would be applied and Regulations issued by the relevant Minister(s), in conjunction with the Finance Minister, will cover any other necessary procedures required to implement the law (especially in respect of collection arrangements). As other taxes are currently levied on livestock and vehicles, any procedures for the collection of the new levies would need to be aligned with current collection systems of other livestock and vehicles duties so to as minimise the costs of collection and maximise compliance with the law. Nonetheless, Article 125 of the 1996 Law gives the Minister of Finance power to issue ‘regulations for the proper implementation’ of that Law and there is no reason why any regulations necessary for the streamlined collection of the new livestock and vehicles levies cannot be issued under Article 125.