OPINIONTransparency and Corruption [Archives:2006/983/Business & Economy]

September 21 2006

Raidan Al-Saqqaf
[email protected]

Now as you have elected your leader, you ought to hold him responsible and accountable for his acts of leadership. To hold Yemen's political leaders accountable, citizens and voters must have proper information about government revenues, budget allocations and the implementation of national strategies and developmental plans. Openness and transparency make it more likely government revenues and resources will be used more efficiently and fairly. By contrast, lack of transparency results in more probability for corruption and misuse of resources and hindering developmental plans and prosperity of the people, giving validity to the argument that the government officials who fail in realising developmental plan are actually involved in massive corruption, and placing their narrow personal interests above the national welfare of development, and these corrupt continue to make policies and administer the government freely because of the lack of transparent disclosure and the limited accountability.

Corruption thrives when there is no transparency, and mechanisms of good governance facilitate for increased transparency and good results of the governance process. Transparency matters. The path from transparency to good governance and from good governance to good results is obvious, but the journey has not happened in Yemen.

It is not a matter of ethics or trust, it is not the matter of the non-existence of a reliable governance system or the existence of one that does not work; it is a matter of disclosure. We need to know why Yemen continues to fail in meeting its developmental plan and why every reform strategy results in more poverty. We need to know why the Central Authority for Control and Audit does not transfer cases of corruption to the legal system and why it does not publish its reports and become transparent with its findings when companies are involved with corruption or certain officials instructed something against national welfare and development be implemented, news of which make headlines time and again in the Press and are known to the public.

And lists of companies advocating for corruption reach thousands; companies which prosper the most nowadays are usually government-linked companies, utilizing their influence and corruption in winning bids and contracts in many sectors including civil works, infrastructure, constructions, suppliers, and oil. Recently the new Minister of oil, Khalid Bahah, announced no sub-contracting tender will take place without a bid and a competitive offer as a move towards more transparency in the bidding process. However, many companies and officials are working hard to spoil this system. Bahah acts with a sincere will to develop this country and I have a feeling Bahah is incorruptible and can set an example for other officials to follow.