Investment environment versus security and stability [Archives:2003/641/Business & Economy]

June 12 2003

By Abdulaziz Mohammed Abdullah
Yemen Times, Aden

If we were to agree that legal legitimacy is the strong protector of all citizens' rights and duties, and if we recognize that this represents basically components of the state, constitution, laws and regulations that must be equally applied to all, what is then imperative is that the state would commit itself to application and effective implementation o all laws and regulations before any other side. By this commitment the state would give confirmation on its credibility to what the legal legitimacy stipulates. Legal legitimacy is the indispensable principle through which security and stability is maintained. We are attaching our hopes to the new government, crossing fingers that it would restructure the 'house' from within and listen to what is proposed and suggested in official and private gatherings.
A lot of effort needs to be done; appraisal of all officials according to the public good has to be done irrespective of favoritism and position. Intellectual and well-studied estimations and evaluations have to be made with respect to all the government sectors and sections under the umbrella of the constitution and regulations of the state. This is more important now than ever, especially with the new turn to developing investment in Yemen, and enhancing trade relations.
Because investment is the key word to improving the country's economy, and hence any messing up with the investment laws would result into crucial effects on economy. Issuing laws passes through many stages, starting from discussion at the cabinet, again discussed at the parliament by the concerned committee, in presence of the government representatives in prelude to referring it to the presidency to pass. After all this series would such laws be subject to the temperament of this minister or that? Amendments entered on the previous investment law issued under the republican decision No. 22 for the year 1991 and the following laws amending it, No. 14 in 1995 and also law No. 29 in 1997 had been subject to many discussions and procedures.
Therefore, once a law or regulation is approved the next step is naturally to be activated and put into effect. What is not understood is why the point of article No. 18 of the investment law for the year 2002 related to exempting production requirements of other projects by 50% from customs duties, is not implemented throughout all the period those projects were carrying out their activities? If any party had any kind of reservations they should have been given before the law had been issued, not after that.
Ironically, the investment law (22 year 2002) has guaranteed much flexibility and incentives and facilities to attract investments and to keep pace with inside and outside economic variables and meet requirements for reforms in our country. It is strange why some executive authorities of the state, such as the finance ministry and customs authority impede implementation of such laws.
What we are hoping now is that the parliament has to activate its monitoring authority. This in addition to the fact that article No. 64 of the same law stipulates issuing the executive bill of the law No. 74 in a reasonable period of time from the date of its issuance, it was issued on July 20, 2002.
If we were to aim at better economy performance, we have to encourage investment and that will never happen in a country where stability and security is just a myth. Laws must be accurately implemented and those who violate must be punished in order to see a real difference.