Government and tradesmen [Archives:2007/1033/Opinion]

March 15 2007

By: Yasser Al-Mayasi
Among the world's nations, situations develop quietly while affairs are run in a simple and spontaneous manner, depending on a package of regulations and laws specifying all types of relations between government and citizens.

Differences and agreements develop in a normal manner without any tension or irritation, thanks to numerous factors, the most important of which is top-quality education achieved by communities in developed countries. Citizens in these communities enjoy good capacities to understand their problems and suggest possible solutions to them.

However, in underdeveloped countries like Yemen, the issue is completely different, as affairs and relations are disorganized and agreements and differences are unclear. We perceive that agreements usually are short-lived, while differences or disagreements magnify and continue, thus making it difficult for concerned citizens to suggest solutions; however, they are easy, simple and needn't require great efforts.

In our nation, we see numerous problems and differences that continue magnifying while we are unable to suggest possible solutions to them. This is evident in what's occurring between the Yemeni government and the private sector regarding applying the sales tax law.

The problem has worsened and is expected to create a real crisis due to absence of clear vision and justification, which the government and the private sector are supposed to provide citizens. Up until now, the government has been unable to clarify what it wants from the sales tax. Does paying sales tax influence economic development or price hikes?

Tradesmen can't justify why they evade paying sales tax. The government may have the right to levy taxes on sales to increase its revenues, but traders have the right to criticize the law for imposing taxes that restrict their freedoms.

Citizens don't know the justifications provided by both parties; they simply feel that a crisis is affecting their living standards. Government decision makers and traders must be quiet, sit together, suggest possible solutions and reach an agreement without tension.

Yasser Al-Mayasi is a Yemeni journalist specialized in children and business. [email protected]