Dr. Abdulrahman Ba Fadhel: “We always argue how development goes positive meanwhile individual income goes down (negatively)” [Archives:2001/18/Law & Diplomacy]

April 30 2001

The new government includes for the first time 23 new Ministers, with 17 ousted Ministers. Also creation of new ministries as well as unification of others. We appreciate new blood in the government body that will end a known diplomatic proverb that says formation of Yemen Governments is only change of seats.
The government is unfortunately headed by an Ex. Minister, who participated already in many governments; including the best GPC government headed by independent strong character, with deep administrative, economic culture namely Dr. Faraj Bin Ghanem, which didn’t continue for long, (six months only). This government is for two Years minus one quarter, which will be allocated for coming parliamentary and local elections as well.
The program of this government is not new. It will surely continue the preceding one where this Prime Minister was Pioneer of preceding government program; that is why we will oppose this government, and will not vote in its favor.
The program in reality, irrespective of what the government claims, will be as follows;
1- Continuation of World Bank Program in two fields:
i) Elimination of claimed subsidy of Gasoline with increase in price by not less than 40%. This will lead automatically to transport and bread price increase, as Gasoline plays a major role in these two commodities. This in return will lead to increase in all fields. Gasoline will affect agriculture. Most farmers will abandon their job which means more dependence on US wheat and wheat flower!!
ii) The government claims always even the preceding one, that development in Yemen approached 7% which didn’t happen even in US and Europe. We always argue how development goes positive meanwhile individual income goes down (negatively). Increase in all services including electricity, telephone, gas and water without even notifying people or at least legist power in Parliament.
iii) Privatization of public sector mainly Aden refinery, cement factories, Medicine corporation among others. We have been in England last month, namely in Adam Smith Institute (ADI), which is Excellent, and unique in its activities among which is privatization with large experience practiced a long with British privatization Process Since the 80’s.
The keys and main tools that lead to large success there, are not available in our country!! So here it will be an absolute failure. These tools which we learned are the following:
1- transparency which is fully unavailable in Yemen.
2- Competitively in the same field of privatization which we lack in Yemen.
3- Laws and Regulations to guarantee good service and competitive prices. Independent Body with full authority to look for interest of both consumer and producer, that we absolutely do not have. Laws in Yemen in general are not applied by consecutive governments and no guarantee can be expected, to protect consumer interest, but for producer is always guaranteed. More over where and how the independent body will be formed.
As an example British Airways Assets evaluated by 300 million pound, sold with 900 million pound in shares !! while in Yemen assets due to government corruption will be sold with even less than half of their value.
4- Privatization philosophy is based on shares to be distributed among citizens, in a way that no one can have more than 15% from abroad as it happed in British Airways. Not only that, but also, Workers and Employee should be in the picture during the whole process of privatization. More over they have to be share holders with at least 5% free shares for them as a motive. The Preceding government refused to put even the parliament in the picture !!
5- Sharing process should be governed by the Bourse, where Yemen has no bourse at all.
6-Finally independent, transparent, judicial power which in Yemen is still lagging behind.
For all reasons above (ADI) should be proud of British Privatization that lead to employment, lowering prices of services, with better quality, and large some of money to feed the treasury. We hope ADI will pay a visit to Yemen to see our situation. If privatization is needed it is the Management only, where elite staff is highly corrupted, in public sector. Privatization of Public sector, will lead to increase in no employment, degradation in services, and high prices at the same time.
Last word for World Bank carrying, with deep thanks, reforms in Yemen. We feel strongly, all members in the Parliament, that without Administrative reforms, all its efforts will collapse.
Evidence is what Mr. Andersud (WB representative) told us in his last visit of farewell to Parliament heads of caucus with Finance Committee as well. He submitted a report to us stressing that in Yemen:
(1) Unemployment increases.
(2) Poverty increases.
(3) Oil revenue decreases.
(4) Water Supply decreases.
In other terms WB program failed in Yemen. Briefly Speaking with subsidies, elimination + increase in services prices (water, telephone, electricity etc..) + New taxes (income, real state, selling tax, etc,.) + all this against individual income decreasing + High corruption rate, all will lead to a disaster of which the WB is highly responsible. We always say that Yemen is not Europe. And what frighten us more, that severe economic situation might lead to our democracy collapse, as people say today what is the use of freedom of expression while famine is spreading.
Our main distinguished affair in the region is DEMOCRACY, and human rights, and freedom of expression. If it goes due to Economic failure the WB will be surely guilty and responsible.