10-year elapse of financing fundsFigures won’t make Yemen an ever-green meadow! [Archives:2004/720/Business & Economy]

March 15 2004

By Farouk Moqbil
For the Yemen Times

Since 1990, a nationwide economic regeneration has resulted in emergence of 14 financing funds during these 10 years long.
The talk of the development of those funds can be resembled to the talk of the democracy with a closed narrow hole of sealed wax.

Talk of disaster
Loans estimated at billions of US dollars have been passed by the state to the Parliament.
“Those loans have increased the state's foreign indebtedness estimated at USD 4, 900,000,000 which constitutes a heavy burden for the coming generations,” Ahmed Mohammed Qatabi, the Vice Chairman of the PGC told the Al-Ayaam on March 26, 2003.
“There are some influential figures at the state exploiting loans for their own interests,” Ahmed Salem Bin Taleb, (Islah) said in a symposium organized by the al-Ayyam paper, (an independent daily newspaper).
Those imaginary amounts of loans have range from USD 1 million to 4 millions.
The two aforementioned people talked about corruption as if nothing had happened.
But, let us now suppose that Yemen's foreign indebtedness has totaled USD 4, 900,000,000. From, where all those debts have come from? It is a very difficult question which is need of immediate answer.

Since1995, the emergence of development funds have alternated together with huge financial budgets which enable them to generate nationwide human social and economical development.
Since that span of time, a number of financing funds are listed as follows:
1- Social Fund for Development
2- Fish & Agricultural Production Support Fund
3- Social Care Fund
4- Bridges & Roads Maintenance Fund
5- Youth & Young Care Fund
6- Armed Forces Retirement Fund
7- Interior Ministry Retirement Fund
8- Vocational Training Fund for Qualifying Workforce
9- Tourism Promotion Fund
10- Civil Service Fund
11- Qualifying Handicapped Care Fund
12- Medicine Fund
13- Funds for Cities Improvement
The number of funds doesn't end here, there are also other funds for building maintenance and schools preparations, funds related to antique preservation and micro-start financing.

Bitter reality
What has been established so far by those funds? Such question haunts the minds of the majority of people.
We can say that most people are not familiar with what have been done by most of those funds. Their achievements are restricted only to outlay reports and nothing else. They are away from real ultimate goals that could really serve the community. They are above hankering after their own self-interests.
Some of those funds have achieved tremendous revenues, while others have lost the game.
About YR. 138,000,000 has been recorded as a loss on the part of the Tourism Promotion Fund.
While its revenues had been totaling only YR. 30,000,000.
Despite the State paying more attention to tourism, considering it as a permanent source and inexhaustible wealth, there are still some hindrances that block its progress.
Antique smuggling, abuse of manuscripts and random excavations of archeological sites have become a norm on the part of some citizens in most of governorates in the republic.
Those who are in charge of those funds blame such losses on global events such as the September 11 attacks in Washington DC which resulted in a negative impact on tourism in the world.
Yemen in general is endowed with rich archaeological sites. Look for example, in Lahj governorate, one can see a host of ancient palaces belong to Sultans which are need of repair and support.
The question which poses itself is “Where is the Tourism Promotion Fund?”.
In Aden, there are a lot of ancient buildings which are exposed to dust, ignorance and abandonment.
The budget of Fish & Agricultural Production Support Fund has been estimated at YR.5 billion and a half. At the same time, projects that have been financed by the fund has been totaling YR. 32 million. Besides, the budget affiliated to the Bridges & Roads Maintenance Fund has been totaling YR. 4.693 billion and the number of projects financed have reached 76.248.000.
Look at our streets, a clear testimony to ignorance and on the brink of destruction.

Crossing red lines
Social Care Development is one of the most active funds.
Financial allocations for water economy during Phase I have reached USD 180 millions for three years.
The fund gets about USD 90 million for three years also. Its financial allocations have been doubled during the Phase II in order to reach USD 175 million.
During the upcoming years, Phase III is to start from 2004 to 2008 and at the cost of USD 400 million.
Taiz alone has undergone severe water crises and water depletion. It has become the talk of the town these days. About 6 artesian wells have been paralyzed between Taiz-Ibb areas.
Only USD 6 millions is added to the coming generation's balance.
A study has been recently conducted by a national cadre to solve the water problems, including that come from Saber Mountain which overlooks the city.
There is a possibility that the project will save the city from a water crisis till 2050.
At the same time, the project's cost don't exceed USD 4 million and have not been completed, because of the 'red lines' of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the largest world donors.
According to sources, the marginal thought of the project is about to suspend loans granted to preservation of the Taiz from floods.
With regard to the agricultural aspect, the overall support granted by the Fish & Agricultural Production Support Fund has been estimated YR. 570 million.
Such figures will not make Yemen an ever-green meadow. It will not make Yemen flow with water. Realities alone can speak than anything else.
No specific policy has been determined and the absence of an agricultural policy has resulted in just one product and absence of others.

Women & funds
Such funds have made positive strides in terms of expanding women's participation in economical fields as well as implementing basic infrastructural projects, water, electricity and roads. A number of essential services have been rendered and training programs for the poverty-stricken families have been held. All these has been detected through 655,155 cases sent to the Social Care Fund.
Are all these enough to fight poverty and getting rid of begging? Perhaps, what we see with our own eyes in the main cities is a clear testimony. The number of the poverty-stricken families is on the rise.