Al-Kuhlani to the Yemen Times: I call on People of Sanaa to render care to their city [Archives:2002/03/Interview]

January 14 2002

The Capital-Secretariat (CS) has witnessed a notable improvement within the last couple of months. Yet, there are a lot of problems that need to be promptly solved. Similarly, the new created local councils are facing a lot of problems with regard to fully implementing the Local Council Law, as well as the lack of funds required to suffice the ever-growing need for public service projects.
Mohammed al-Massani met with Mr. Ahmed Mohammed al-Kuhlani, the Capital Mayor and the Chairman of the Local Councils in Sanaa and filed the following interview.
Q: What are the difficulties the local councils are facing in the CS?
A: The experience of local councils in Yemen is in its prime, and for sure there are many problems in this regard. The transition from the stage of centralized to the decentralized system, especially in the Capital-Secretariat, is a problematic one because despite the enactment of the local governance law some authorities of the local councils are still held by the central government.
Q: What are the major problems facing the Capital-Secretariat?
A: The Capital-Secretariat faces a host of problems since the funds allocated to it are even less than what are allocated to any other governorate. The fact is that the Public Works Offices in the governorates receive more funds than what the Capital-Secretariat gets from the government.
Q: The disputes over the ownership of plots of lands constitutes a big problem for the Capital-Secretariat. What can the CS do in this regard?
A: The disputes over the property of land is a major difficulty for the CS, particularly as several bodies and individuals interfere in our work.
Q: How do you assess the work of local councils within the previous period?
A: The local councils have not carried out their work properly, although what have so far been done is good in comparison to the allocated funds which had only been earmarked at the end of the fiscal year 2001.
Q: The problem of peddlers in the streets of the Capital-Secretariat is till now an unsolved problem. Is there any plan to tackle this issue?
A: Basically, the problem of peddlers has come to existence in the wake of the Gulf crisis. We prefer to tackle this issue within the scope of the established law. Yet, one of the solutions adopted by the CS to handle this issue is designating daily markets so as to enable those who cannot have shops to go to these markets and sell their goods. However, the problem is that some traders exploit this law and use more than 60 handcarts so as not to open shops and pay taxes.
Q: What has the CS done to contain the expansion of Sanaa?
A: The CS has to cope with the expansion of the city which is developing day after day. We are doing our best in this regard, however, the problem is mainly related to the lack of funds. The capital is now more crowded than ever and this necessities working out future plans to absorb this growth. We have paid greater attention to public gardens as well as the clean-up of the city and the people have to take part in this work too.
Q: Do you have any plans to construct new bridges and services projects?
A: In fact, I have shortly visited both Kuwait and Emirates and they agreed on principle to finance the construction of a number of bridges, as well as other service projects in the Capital-Secretariat. Similarly, the Arab Fund for Development agreed to fund the completion of the sanitation network. The important thing now is to translate into practice all the pervious agreements signed by the CS. We also have plans to sign new twin agreements with other capitals.
Q: Any final comment?
A: I call on every person living in the Capital-Secretariat to render care to their city and support the enforcement of law and order.