Comments on the reform program [Archives:2004/777/Opinion]

September 30 2004

By Abdurrahman Bafadel
Parliament Member
For the Yemen Times

The government came to parliament on Wednesday 22nd of September 2004 looking for approval to continue its claimed program of reform!
But after nine years of application, the program has amounted to a complete failure, if not having made things worse by regressing reformation in the administrative and financial sectors. We reject vigorously what the government claims due to following facts from their own statistics:
1) Customs Smuggling 60%
2) Tax evasion 70%
3) Unemployment 30%
4) Poverty 50%
5) Individual revenue US$350 per year. Meanwhile, in 1996 US$650 per year.
6) Corruption has increased, as is evidenced by the latest oil agreement, which had to be cancelled by the parliament. Another example is the additional credit of 20% to the budget every year, always spent before parliamentary approval, and in continual violation of the constitution.
7) No serious action has been taken towards administrative reformation by putting the right man in the right place, and not even a single case was taken to court to prosecute a single senior person from the government for corruption.
8) The continual rise in the prices of all commodities and services, although individual incomes continue to decrease.
9) The humiliation of and harsh attacks on syndicates and civil work organizations.
10) The humiliation of and harsh attacks on the press.
11) Wrong privatization procedures devoid of transparency, and the firing of laborers.
12) The degradation of health services.
13) The degradation of basic and higher education services, for women in particular.
14) The degradation of the situation of teacher's, including university professors and lecturers.
15) The degradation of electricity services, with the highest tariff in the Arab world, and the neglect of the parliaments commitment to decrease tariffs for hot governorates like Hodaidah, Aden, and Hadhramout.
16) The water crises and shortage in different governorates, in particular in Sana'a and Taiz.
17) Local councils elected without any authority, or power and no financial means, according to their approved laws.
18) Finally the proposed removal of the subsidy on Diesel fuel, which will more than double the price, will lead to the demise of agriculture, an increase in transportation costs, an increase in the price of bread that will be coupled with a reduction in its size and weight. More than that, the price of the dollar will shoot up, which will cause an increase in the price of all services and commodities.
The question for both the government and the World Bank is: what is left in the so-called reform program? That is why we reject it all, and (as one GPC parliamentary member said in that session) we request the government to resign.