If they’re going to help with development, then . . .Local councils need muscle [Archives:2003/684/Business & Economy]

November 9 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation is busy with cooperating with many sides for drawing up new mechanisms bearing the responsibility for watching the strategy of poverty alleviation at the central level and preparation for building branch units for following up practical measures in each governorate, to be fulfilled during next December.
The Ministry has specified responsibilities of the branch unit in each governorate by coordination with concerned authorities in order to establish databases in governorates' districts. The plan also intends to include development goals in the governorate as part of programs and projects to be followed up in terms of implementation in accordance with entrusting authorities and responsibilities with the local councils.
To accomplish the projects funded by donors there is supervising committee including representative from the Planning Ministry for linking the increase in appropriations to the capability of implementation of those projects and programs. The committee also includes representatives from major ministries and sectors.
The central perception in the short-term discloses prominently that the volume of economic and social disparity between governorates is very big. It also discloses non-balance of development in them with their local potentials, diminution of natural resources in some of them and the situation of each governorate and level of communications and centres of marketing and development of exports that would consolidate local activities and development of regions.
Improving the living conditions of citizens is the biggest challenge facing the realization of economic growth and creation of job opportunities and providing services by the local authority.
According to the yearly report on the implemented programs of the five-year plan 2001-2005 there are many indicators reflecting a low level in local councils performance. The total amount of revenues has amounted to around YR 15 billion and 662 million in 2002, the local self-resources formed 31%, joint resources 36% and joint public revenues 9% and central support 24%. The indicators also disclosed a variance among governorates in proportion of actual collection of revenues. The expected proportion in the capital has exceeded 103%, the general medium in Taiz, Hadramout, Lahj, Al-Baidha'a, Abyan, Shabwa, Al-Jawf, Al-Mahra and al-Dhalie exceeded 74.4%, whereas the proportion has recorded a drop in the rest of other governorates. Causes of this variance are attributed to weakness of the local authority and lack of experience of its cadre in implementation of their responsibilities. Added to that is the incompletion of the institutional construction of the local authority. On the other hand the fund for giving care to youth, and sport and the fund for maintaining roads do not fulfill payment of their commitments to the local authority.
Out of all these, it becomes evident that local deficiencies indicate to inaccuracy in calculating estimations of resources according to each governorate, in addition to weakness of the best utilization of collected revenues as they have in some governorates exceeded the average of 50%, such as the capital secretariat and the governorates of Taiz, Sana'a, Hudeidah, Shabwa and Dhalie.
Volume of remaining assets from accounts of administrative units that have not been used in the last year amounted to about YR 6 billion, 848 million and 4 thousand and they have been posted forward to the governorates the current year. The volume of revenues of this year has been estimated at YR 18 billion and 660 million.
For this reason the Yemeni government has worked for increasing its central appropriations for the local councils in the draft project of the budget as they have exceeded by YR 100 billion for the purpose of expansion in building infrastructure projects and establishment of development balance in governorates and districts.