Press Review [Archives:2001/32/Press Review]

August 6 2001

The issue of raising the prices of diesel fuel is still given prominence by local press especially organs of opposition parties and private sector. Many articles and leading stories have tackled the subject, strongly criticizing the government for that move. Another major story discussed and reported by this week’s local press is that concerning developments of kidnapping incident of a German citizen, his whereabouts and the motives behind it.
Normally official newspapers and those representing the ruling party have written analyses commending the measure of diesel prices and giving justification for taking it, while opposition organs opposed it, and refuted the government’s justifications.
Al-Mithaq weekly, organ of the General People’s Congress party
Al-Mithaq published an article by member of parliament Ali Ali A’tif in its issue of July 30, 2001 on what he termed as price reforms of diesel fuel. The writer says there are many aspects that should be pointed out in dealing with this government measure connected to environmental, structural, economic and social matters.
Environmentally, the author says, information indicates the existence of an excessive and increasing use of diesel that consequently that has led to effecting of grave damage to environment, squandering marine life and polluting air. As for the structure information indicates that the preset consumption of diesel with its low prices has made many people to convert machines and equipment to use diesel instead of petroleum. This has led to excessive use of this fuel in a manner it would be too difficult to deal with in future.
Regarding the economic aspect, the government spends 80 billion rials in subsidy of goods, 90% of which goes to subsidize the diesel fuel. In addition: wasting such huge sums of the budget due to smuggling operations of this substance causes damage as it would be imperative to import additional amounts to make up for the shortage in the local market, which is at the expense of other economic projects.
Al-Wahdawi weekly, organ of the Nasserite party, 31 July 2001
The newspaper’s editorial has numerated and analyzed the ” doses” implemented by the government, saying that two heavy doses have been the gift of the government offered to the people in this month alone, quite contrary to what other governments do for their peoples. First the government has been very keen to close the door of knowledge to a big segment of our students when it defined percentage of university admission at 70% at minimum. The second dose has been the raising of diesel prices by 75% although it is a local product. This will inevitably cause an increase in prices of many commodities and services and would have a general effect to compel more people to lead a harsh kind of austerity.
The editorial maintains that those doses coincide with a political dose the government endeavors to implement through effecting the elections law in a form encircling the democratic margin.
Ath-Thawri weekly organ of the YSP, 2 August 2001
The newspaper has said in its editorial that the new dose the government has embarked on by raising the diesel prices and its adverse consequences on the people’s life, represents a dangerous uncommendable continuation of the wrong economic and social policies the government has been following since the end of the war of 1994 summer.
The essential reasons here lie in the non-possession of a wise policy for investment of available economic reserves and potentials in addition to absence of economic, security, legal and political circumstances and conditions attracting local, Arab and foreign investment. Other cause is the inflation of corruption that developed into an establishment and complete-linked octopus. The concept of privatization has unfortunately become a loose framework for plundering of public riches and feeding corruption. Making things worse are failure of security and stability, spread of chaos of and acts of violence and shrinkage of the limited margin of democracy.
Al-Ihya’a Al-Arabi weekly, organ of the Arab Baath Socialist party, Iraq organization, 31 July 2001
Abdulwali Sallam has also tackled in an article the latest dose by the government on raising the prices of diesel. He has discussed the justifications put forward by the government and refuted them. The writer says concerning the smuggling abroad of diesel the operation is carried out in large vehicles and even the using of government tankers which can be prevented by a decision not through raising the substance prices. Another government decision can be taken to prevent the converting of vehicle machines from other petroleum products to diesel. If the government stops smuggling operations and prevents the use of diesel in passengers buses inside the cities, then those who exploit the government subsidy on diesel would find nothing to exploit, the writer says in refuting the government’s justifications which he describes as flimsy.
As-Sahwa weekly, 2 August 2001
The newspaper’s political editor has written that the latest government measure of raising the diesel prices has been carried out in an unprecedented manner. This manner confirms the growth of the orientation of following the means of excluding others not only their opinions but as a being and effect. Implementation of the new dose has not been officially announced by the government, indicating non-recognition of the existence of the political and social forces. The article says such an approach would not lead to stability and development.
The first thing the government has to do is to listen to others’ opinions with regard to measures it intends to implement in the process of carrying out its reform programs. It should benefit from those opinions and viewpoints and not to deem them merely as narrow-minded biddings.
Annas weekly, 30 July 2001
Mr Sadeq Nasher says in an article titled ” Diesel” that he does not want to accuse the present government as secretive but its practices denote that. The present government, as is the pursuit of former ones, follows a very bad approach, i.e. disregarding the people especially in what concerns their life. These governments take their decisions of destiny preceded by rumors preparing the people for accepting them, especially the difficult resolutions. No Yemeni government has ever dared to inform the people beforehand on what it intends to do, though this is one of its tasks, if it is convinced of the rightfulness of what it does.
It is the right of the citizen who has put his confidence in the government to get informed on the decisions pertaining to his life and not to be subject delusion. The government would have the people’s confidence and its decisions be credible when people are informed about them, as they are the source of all powers.
Al-Jamaheer weekly, organ of the Arab Baath Socialist party, Syrian organization, 29 July 2001
The newspaper’s political editor has this week tackled the topic of the return of kidnapping incidents in Yemen saying that despite the new government’s pledge of putting an end to the phenomenon of kidnapping foreigners and uproot its motives, those promises have actually gone with the wind. The editor has cited the latest kidnapping incident of a German citizen, which is the second German to be kidnapped during this year.
The editor further confirms that kidnapping of foreigners by tribes has become a real problem for the local authorities. It has become a threat to tourism which is a growing resource of income. Observers affirm that the government’s underestimation of repeated kidnappings and rewarding kidnappers for the sake of securing the release of the kidnapped are among the major causes of complicating this phenomenon and encouraging its spread.
The government now finds itself in bewilderment between what it wants and what the law authorizes it to do in protection and preservation of its sovereignty and internal security and reputation on the one hand and what the kidnappers intentions and aims on the other hand.