Easier procedures to tackle investment impediments [Archives:2006/915/Business & Economy]

January 26 2006

Despite numerous investor complaints about impediments to investment, the government says its 2006-2010 five-year plan for development and poverty alleviation will push forward the wheels of development in the industry and trade sector. This goal will be attained through future measures and policies considering this one of the promising sectors for achieving sustainable economic growth and national economy diversification. The aim is to realize the objective of incorporating with the world economy by joining the World Trade Organization.

Poverty is aggravating Yemeni society due to unjust distribution of available local wealth and revenues, in addition to scarcity of resources and dispersion of external grants and aid. Against this, official sources claim the plan's general course aims to fight poverty and provide a convenient industrial investment climate via simplifying measures, tackling industrial investment hindrances, expanding the industrial base and completing the industrial sector's legislative and legal structure. Additionally, there will be a plan to promote industrial zone investment opportunities, prepare industrial maps, as well as adopt measures and policies to develop the industrial and commercial sector. The plan's aim also is to guarantee necessary funding availability for it and encourage the private sector to establish industrial zones.

Pursuant to social studies, labor market unemployment volume continually is increasing due to scarcity of job opportunities. Therefore, the government says its new development plan will work to limit unemployment volume and seek to alleviate poverty by doubling the conversion rate of industries' contribution to the domestic product. It will realize this by increasing growth to around 12 percent during the plan's implementation period, compared to what it was at the end of last year. It will realize this aim through phased industrial zone establishment, providing necessary infrastructure and direction toward building medium and large industrial projects, as well as establishing an industrial development fund and modernizing industrial development strategy.

The plan's articles point out that the government will increase industrial export share in non-oil exports by focusing on criteria of quality, easing export procedures and paying attention to specifications and standardizations. It will work to benefit domestic input industries and the WTO for least developed countries by providing Arab free zone privileges, in addition to increasing industrial exports from Aden free zone.

According to its plan, the government says it will fight poverty by developing small industries and professions like textiles, handicrafts and food industries that can enter external markets. To do this, the government says it intends to prepare a project to improve small industries, follow up financial aspects and activate the role of the fund to finance small industries. It plans to organize these industries into specialized societies to offer care and encourage them, as well as hold trade markets and encourage women in those fields.

Regarding external trade, the plan endeavors to complete development and modernization of the legal and institutional structure of foreign trade. In this respect, the plan mentions a group of scheduled measures and policies. Among the proposed procedures is issuing a new external trade law, a law organizing internal and external trade fairs, a law protecting national production against effects resulting from harmful international trade practices and an electronic trade law. The plan also includes preparing a mechanism to gradually transfer from traditional to electronic trade and applying the new administrative structure of external trade general management. The plan includes other measures and policies on rehabilitation programs, training, etc.

Nevertheless, the big questions concern the extent of seriousness to achieve what is mentioned in the plan's articles and what they will achieve in tackling the poverty problem and the country's investment impediments.