An Annual Report on the Economic Policy and Performance of Yemen [Archives:2001/15/Business & Economy]

April 9 2001

By: Dr. Alexander Bohrisch*

Governments have an economic agenda and citizens and firms have an interest to be informed regularly about governments’ main goals of economic policy and performance. In fact, what governments plan and are able to implement (or are failing to realize) affect the daily lives of millions of households and the economic situation of many enterprises and their employees.
The preparation of annual reports of Governments’ economic policies and performance is a common exercise in many countries and their publication and presentation usually attracts high attention in the media of the respective countries. They are regarded as the test of governments’ abilities to attain their goals of economic policies which are usually: Economic growth, low inflation and low unemployment (and in the case of Yemen poverty reduction).
These reports are normally prepared by relevant ministries or other governmental units; sometimes also independent research institutes are commissioned to do the job. For example, in the United States of America there is the “Economic Report by the President” prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers while in Germany there is both a report by the Ministry of Economics and by the Council of (independent) Experts consisting of eminent economists, usually from universities. For large countries whose economic policies and performance have an important impact on the world economy, a number of international organizations such as the OECD and IMF are preparing separate country reports.
In Yemen, such a public report does not exist so that the people and the private sector are only inadequately informed about the principal objectives of the government’s economic policy, and, more importantly, to which extent the government was able to achieve its economic policy objectives. If necessary such a report would also give causes why certain policy objectives could not be attained.
Hence there is a need for information.
But there is another reason for the preparation of such a report: A comprehensive monitoring of economic developments is also crucial for the successful continuation of the Economic Reform Program which is under way since 1995. This program is supported and monitored by the IMF and the World Bank but the Yemeni authorities should have a natural interest in tracking themselves regularly and in a systematic way the actual progress towards achieving the targets established and analyzing the factors to either meeting or missing them.
The main content of such an annual report would typically be as follows:
1. The Economic Agenda of the Government
2.The Performance of the Economy
Economic Growth
Inflation and Exchange Rate
Poverty Alleviation
4.Main Policy Tools
Monetary Policy
Fiscal Policy
Income Policy
Poverty Policy
5.The challenges ahead
Population growth
Such an annual report could be published, for example, under the title:
“The Economic Report by the President”.
*Dr. Alexander Bohrisch is currently with GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) Sana’a Office until June 2001. Before, he has been a senior staff member of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva, Switzerland. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GTZ