Administrative reform (1-2) Comprehensive visualization of a modern state [Archives:2006/969/Opinion]

August 3 2006

By: Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb
The major problem from Yemen and the Arab world suffer from is the administrative backwardness or the mismanagement. All factors of economy will appear dwindled beside the element of administration and no successful institution exists unless there is a successful and scientific management behind it.

It is agreed upon that we have a limp administration suffering from many problems beginning from corrupt leaderships incapable of creativity lacking future policies and programs through employees too lazy to work to failing projects yielding no profits but waiting for state subsidies. Therefore, I perceive that axes of change and reform in the society must be parallel with axes of change, namely, the political, economic, administrative and social axes. This dictates founding a mechanism for leading these reformatory initiatives. I would not be exaggerating if I presume that the administrative axis is the most important of all those axes because of its closeness to the public.

Administrative reform program in Yemen and the Arab world entertains a priority and this priority will not become tangible reality unless it includes a basic general framework going hand in hand with policies compatible with economic, political and financial reforms. Thus, the administrative reform and modernization of its establishments is a national project aimed at drawing up national agenda and strategy for reform in defined years. Formulation of the strategy should be done by experts in translation of outcomes of international conferences in this field. Administration reform has been a premonition of all previous governments. They have not achieved it because many have put hindrances on the way of realizing it. Now it comes back to be an urgent demand despite the existence of the so-called ministry of civil service and administrative reform. There is no tangible phenomenon to this reform in all state establishments and facilities.

There are ideas rejecting development and reform. Those ideas reflect continuous fear from restructuring which means dispensing with some or a big number of employees working in government institutions. In addition, there are the phenomenon of corruption, losses of companies and difficulty of fighting them. Among other things, there are also the wasting of public property, failure in implementation of rules and legislations, impeding the economic growth, high costs of production as well as the social corruption and drop in performance of public institutions and deterioration of human resources skills. All those challenges have led to slowness in the process of the manner of reform. The fact lies is in the absence until now of programmed visualization for the administrative reform emerging from deep theories and studies of experiences of a number of countries in this regard.

For many years there is all over the Arab homeland, including Yemen, talk is going on about administrative reform. Despite of the passage of years and convening many conferences and symposiums, they did not produce an established formula for administrative reform that defines methods of reform and its effect in enriching the public service.

The bright slogans and statements do not serve and are no longer enough. Words are more than acts and pompous expressions and terms are so many, such as “we have a complete system of new thought” and the like of such slogans. There is no impact of them, and added to those are statements by officials, which usually end up to nothing.

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb is an economist and a professor in Political Science. He is the head of a number of professional associations, such as the Arab Group for Investment and Development.