Reflections”. imply Yemeni Authorities Do not Think Simply ” The Desperate Need for an Overhaul of the country’s Administrative system [Archives:2004/782/Opinion]

October 18 2004

By Yahya Al-Olfi
[email protected]

I have always been surprised whenever a new authority, department or establishment is devised and mostly think that such an idea came out after a sound Catha Edulis Chewing session. Unnecessarily Authorities were turned into ministries, ministries into authorities and other denominations a good case in point is tourism first it was an authority working well and smoothly with its different departments. Then suddenly turned into a ministry and after some time broke into many authorities a part annexed to the ministry of culture and coined the name “tourism sector” another formed a Tourism Development Authority and an unnecessary offshoot was devised and called the Tourism Promotion Council which since its foundation has proven to be a failure.
This council should return to its original home and that is being a department within the authority which is to house all the other tourist denominations and offshoots. In my opinion to have the right institution with well defined goals is far more better than all the necessary offshoots. Tourism must be an authority and remains so like in Jordan, U.K. etc. Unnecessary offshoots such as the Tourism Promotion Council and the Tourism Sector at the Ministry should cease to exist. Tourism Authority should have a direct contact with the Prime Minister so as to avoid the mostly confusing and unnecessary disturbances caused by the interrelation with the Ministry of Culture.
Hopefully in an upcoming reshuffle this illness can be attended. During the past few days I came across an interesting article by a writer named A/ Alim Bajash in a weekly named “the weekly” edition no. 284 . This article actually tunes up with what I always thought all along about some extravagant unnecessary innovations in the administrative system. The problem here is that what is convenient in a foreign country is not necessarily applicable in the same form in our own. The said writer begins like this ” Simply Yemeni Authorities Do not Think Simply!, this is why you are sure that this country shall fail within the upcoming twenty years.
Robert Hindle Yemen's World Bank Manager for three years which ended last September says “..simply the government needs to lower its weight, because there are always alternatives with less cost, making for ten unnecessary ministries” unquote. Hence the Ministry of Planning and International cooperation can be transformed from a flabby voracious intermediary into a slim and agile Organ. The National Committee for Celebrations is an appendix without of which Mr. Abdo Rabbo Mansoor Hadi still can remain vice-president. The Supreme Council for Civil Service, The Supreme Council for Universities, Women's Supreme Council etc. tens of such councils are not needed in reality.
Take for example the fact that only getting rid from three thousand cases of double employment has saved us 12 billion Yemeni Riyals per annum. This is a mere minor intervention with regard to small positions so what about it if the Civil Service ministry starts to terminate double employment in the higher levels.
Tens of employees in the level of Minister, deputy and heads of boards and general managers occupying other positions in more than an organization, corporation and party. They are everywhere occupying highest positions in the banking sector, the sports unions, governmental and non-governmental authorities, National Supreme committees, Supreme Party Committees, the different organizations, Standardization and Measurement Authority, Universities etc. and the last of which is at the Permanent Committee of the people's Conference.
What is even more appalling is that you would find but a few amongst them who are fit to assume those high incumbencies while the other do not know what they should nor how the should react.
This is why you would find the records of the government free from actual successes, while at the same time you could find lots of conferences, seminars and meetings and all of which approx. are merely acoustical.
The dilemma of all the administrators in Yemen is “bombastic thinking” and most ministers and state directors do not think beyond the daily employees' attendance sheet chores.
Directors are only interested in finding excuses so as to reason the finishing off of their financial trusts by any means just enough causes upon typing the financial report at the end of each fiscal year.
We have an inefficient Auditing and Inspection Authority which even if it discovers contraventions has not questioned any. Mostly you would find our ministers directly concerned with the economic situation at their complete ease, do not bother themselves to find out simple practical solutions and mostly “commission transactions” devour half of their thinking time.
This is why it is difficult to notice an indication of betterment in the condition of Yemen excepting gigantic walls encircling ministries, corporations and authorities or fabulous forts and castles and those are the houses of the ministers, their deputies and office managers.
Most of them lacking innovative thinking but surely have elegant signatures or office managers well-versed in administrative routine.
Yemen needs a rescue operation. It needs less ministers thinking better with a new practical agenda and practical solutions for the Rheumatism overwhelming the performance of all state institutions e.g. Yemen wastes millions of US$ dollars by spending lavishly on international futile conferences and at the same time says that it is one of the poorest.