National Industries between Negligence & Smuggling [Archives:2002/06/Focus]

February 4 2002

Emad Al-Saqqaf
The progresses of the national industries is hindered by a lot of difficulties. Businessmen are unable to continue investing in industry as a result of the lack of economic laws, encouragement, facilities, exemption from custom duties and other kinds of privileges to guarantee the economic progress in our country. During my visit to the EXPO Exhibition in Jeddah, I was greatly baffled by measures that had been taken with regard to foreign goods’ access. I really felt sad for our national industries. Similarly, there are some dangerous aspects that blocked the way in front of our national industries among which is smuggling which constitutes a headache for the national industry.
Different kinds of products enter the Yemeni market. Our markets are flooded with so many imported goods. Some of these goods entered illegally without even paying custom duties and some are expired. The government seems to be unable to control smuggling. Factories are about to close down due to the spread of smuggling. The closure of factories means the destruction of thousand of families, it means also the spread of crime, corruption and economic deterioration.
National industries in most countries of the world means identity and affiliation. In a country like Yemen, the government fails to do what is required to stop and prevent the foreign products from flowing into our local markets.
In addition to this, investment process is lagging behind in our country. This can be ascribed to a number of reasons. Among these are instability and insecurity in the country, kidnapping incidents, long-term tribal clashes, favoritism, etc. I was greatly affected when one of the investors told me there was no future for tourism or investment in this country. You have no choice except to pay and pay till you lose and eventually fail. In this respect, are we going to be optimistic about the investment future and build a competitive national industry within the framework of the economic globalism? What I want to say is that the economic laws need to be studied, modified and then applied. We have to encourage the national industries by all means even if they are small.