Bonus week Finally, government admits Yemenis are human [Archives:2007/1085/Opinion]

September 13 2007

Nasser Yahya
All the tasks, which the government was mandated to do a few days ago, have nothing to do with the suffering of citizens and their poor living standards, except for the decision to cash a monthly salary for government employees for Ramadan. The government's failure to put a stop to the skyrocketing prices of foodstuffs is responsible for the poor living standards of citizens.

There was no need for such procedures to be described as urgent. However, the political and media elites, followed by the ruling General People's Congress, wanted to have people bear in mind that this party is concerned about their problems, as Sheikh Sultan Al-Barakani, who is a GPC leader, alleged: “the government has bent over backwards to try to help and get to the bottom of people's problems.”

Over the past few months that followed the most recent presidential elections, prices of basic foodstuffs continued to skyrocket and began to hit the people's wallets hard. But the cabinet never took serious steps toward increasing salaries of government employees and improving their living standards, as other governments do. Instead, the GPC machine remained concerned about what has been happening in its own way. These elites accuse tradesman of being responsible for the crisis and at other times attribute price hikes to an international increase in commodity prices, or due to rising prices of hard currency.

All such false justifications prove that the ruling elite alleges that they are better than the opposition, as well as more experienced and skilled than it. Our government is not needed to give us sob stories, but it should create equilibrium between employees' salaries and skyrocketing prices since it could not stabilize them. The shrewdness and prudence, which the government claims to have, is of no help in runnning the country's affairs in a better way and improve the living standards of its people.

Anyway, we don't blame anyone for the crisis, particularly after the government and its officials reached a consensus to give an extra salary to public sector employees and implement the second phase of the wage strategy. Such a phase, due to be implemented this October, will signal increases in monthly salaries for military, security and civil servants.

If such an authority becomes disillusioned over the economic situation of it citizens, it would have implemented the second phase of the strategy at the beginning of the year. However, it appears to us that Yemen has a lethargic government and not a government of the French style that immediately reacts to citizens' complaints and investigates their living needs.

We have mentioned earlier that the urgent tasks, which the government was asked to accomplish, have nothing to do with price hikes, except for some areas already mentioned. The other irrelevant tasks include improving performance of government agencies and offices, which may take up to fifty years, and reforming the banking system. The third irrelevant task is developing and updating the judiciary system. If such a task is related to improving the living standards of citizens, this means that the Yemeni citizens are needed to perform the funeral prayer.

Such allegedly urgent tasks remind us of the famous joke saying: “Once a king requested a teacher to teach his donkey how to read and write. Then Juha applied for the job and set a condition of ten years to accomplish the task and at the same time he demanded much money and allowances throughout the ten-year period. The king set a condition to kill Juha if he faild to accomplish the task successfully. Asked about his adventure