CAPITAL : Mogadishu (Muqdisho)
FLAG : The national flag is light blue with a five-pointed white star in the center.
ANTHEM : Somalia Hanolato (Long Live Somalia).
MONETARY UNIT : The Somali shilling ( SH ) of 100 cents is a paper currency. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, and 50 cents and 1 shilling, and notes of 5, 10, 20, 100, 500, and 1,000 shillings. SH 1 = $0.0000498 (or $1 = SH 20,041) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is in use.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; National Independence Day, 26 June; Foundation of the Republic, 1 July. Muslim religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-Adha', 'Ashura, and Milad an-Nabi.
TIME : 3 PM = noon GMT.
Somalia, which joined the UN on 30 September 1960, participates in ECA and all the non-regional specialized agencies except IAEA. It is also a member of the African Development Bank, G-77, the Arab League, and AU. Somalia signed the Law of the Sea in 1982 and has observer status at the WTO.
A small number of European agencies which had acted as agents for foreign insurance companies were replaced by a state-owned insurance company, the National Insurance Co. of Somalia, in 1972.
The Somali budget has been in deficit since the early 1970s. Disintegration of the national economy since 1991 has led to relief and military intervention by the UN. No central government authority existed as of 2002, so there was no functioning system of civil administration to collect and disburse public finances. External debt totaled $2.6 billion.
Direct taxes are imposed on income and profits, when officials can collect them. In 1986, tax rates on wages and salaries ranged from 0% to 18.9%. Income from trade and the professions was taxed at rates of up to 35%. Indirect taxes are imposed on imports, exports, mortgages, vehicle registration, sugar, alcohol, and a number of other goods and services. In 2003, Somolia's sales tax rate was 10%.
Customs and duties are levied primarily to provide income for the state and to offer protection to local industries. Most duties are ad valorem and range from zero to 100%. Unspecified goods are dutiable at 25% ad valorem. A general sales tax of 10% for imported goods is also levied.
Private organizations that existed in the 1960s have largely been replaced by government-sponsored groups. Among party-controlled groups are the Union of Somali Cooperatives Movement, the Somali Women's Democratic Organization, and the Somali Revolutionary Youth Organization. The Red Crescent Society is active.
Somalia has no territories or colonies.
Abdullahi, Mohamed Diriye. Culture and Customs of Somalia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2001.
Besteman, Catherine and Lee V. Cassanelli, eds. The Struggle for Land in Southern Somalia: The War Behind the War. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996.
Learning from Somalia: The Lessons of Armed Humanitarian Intervention . Edited by Walter S. Clarke and Jeffrey Ira Herbst. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1997.
A Modern History of Somalia: Nation and State in the Horn of Africa. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1988.
Lewis, I. M. Blood and Bone: The Call of Kinship in Somali Society . Lawrenceville, N.J.: Red Sea, 1994.
Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Somalia: A Country Study. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1993.
Mubarak, Jamil Abdalla. From Bad Policy to Chaos in Somalia: How an Economy Fell Apart . Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1996.
Nnoromele, Salome. Somalia . San Diego, Calif.: Lucent, 2000.