Fourth conference of local councils demands decentralization [Archives:2006/957/Front Page]

June 22 2006

SANA'A, June 20 ) Under the slogan, “Improving Decentralization to Integrate Community into Development,” the fourth conference of local councils concluded its activities Monday.

Chaired by Prime Minister Abdulqader Bajammal, the conference discussed and assessed the local authority system, the way it operates and how it can develop, and suggested amendments. It also assessed economic and social development, which is the fruit of applying local authority experience.

Attendees came out with a statement demanding the government prepare a study as a preliminary step toward electing administrative unit heads in a democratic manner and amending the election system. The statement rejected centralizing any new legislation or decisions involving rules and procedures, which contravenes local authority law and administrative units' duties.

Conference participants recommended forming a committee from the Ministries of Local Administration, Civil Service, Planning and International Cooperation, Finance and Legal Affairs to set uniform standards for transferring executive duties from governorates to districts. They emphasized the need to eliminating mixing between accounting units and finance offices in administrative units.

The conference stressed reconsidering local council support and raising it to 15 percent of the state's total 2006 investment program. It called for increasing local council and executive apparatus spending and maintaining service facilities in the 2007 budget.

Participants called upon the government to approve public works allocations and transfer public works-related authorities from governorates to districts. They urged the government to complete constructing governorate and district administrative unit complexes within a short time period and seek other funding resources to add to government financing.

Conference attendees demanded concerned parties specify locations in the vicinity of cities to help collect qat taxes and prevent qat tax evasion. They advised the government to take necessary measures to prevent the Road Maintenance Fund from taking money from its past years' resources to pay for administrative unit allocations, which is contradictory to the funding law.

The conference also urged the government to reconsider 2006's Republican Decree No. 35 regarding establishing the General Authority for Land and Construction Planning.