On 1 December 2010, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the upgrading of the Burao municipal offices and the construction of the new council meeting hall.
The mayor of Burao officiated at the ceremony, which was attended by the director general of the Somaliland Ministry of Interior, the governor of Togdheer Region, and representatives from Burao City Council, UN-HABITAT, and the appointed building contractor, Urban Construction Company.
After the symbolic laying of the first stone by the director general, the mayor spoke on behalf of the local council: “We are very happy today, with the start of the construction of the new Burao Council Hall and the rehabilitation of the existing municipality buildings. I definitely believe that this will improve our future capability and functionality in serving the citizens of Burao! We are therefore very grateful for the support received from UN-HABITAT and the UN Joint Programme on Local Governance. Although we have already started the site clearing works, as part of our contribution, we are ready to further contribute to eventual additional required work, in close collaboration with UN-HABITAT and the contractor.”
On behalf of the Government of Somaliland, the director general of the Ministry of Interior noted the importance of the new council hall and confirmed that it would meet the council’s urgent need for meeting space.
Since the groundbreaking ceremony, progress has been in line with expectations: a 35 percent completion status was reached by the end of January 2011. The new Burao Council Hall and the improvement of the existing buildings were substantially completed by April.In late 2010, UN-HABITAT also launched the tender process for improving and expanding the local government offices in Sheikh (Somaliland) and Bosasso (Puntland). Preliminary building plans were developed for similar upgrading works for the local authority of Galkayo (Puntland) and the expansion of office space for the newly revamped Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Somaliland.