SILVER LININGPrerequisites for Mujawar’s Cabinet success [Archives:2007/1042/Opinion]

April 16 2007

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Now, the government is set and its members have undertaken their jobs. It is time for hard work. In his first speech after he and his cabinet members were sworn in last week, the Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Ali Mujawar, has pledged to wage a war on corruption. “It is enough for corruption,” he bluntly said. Mujawar is known of his hard work and devotion. He did a good job when he assumed the fish wealth portfolio. He could not do anything when he took over the electricity because this ministry's plight is difficult to address.

The government of Mujawar is, of course, facing a lot of challenges of different colors. It has to address the major headaches of Yemen, including corruption, poverty unemployment, and others. Mujawar said he would address these issues through the boosting of investment. Yes, it is only investment which can truly bring about a boom in Yemen's economy for oil resources are not enough and can not last for a long time as economic agencies reports read.

Encouraging investments needs a lot of work from the government and strategic thinking and planning. It has to create a stable and secured situation which can attract investors to come in. Therefore, the fight in Sada'a has to see an immediate end. It needs to establish fair and independent commercial judiciary system that makes investors feel comfortable about the future of their money. It needs also, as Mujawar himself said, a good infrastructure and facilities like electricity supply. Yes, no investors will flow into a country when they know that there is shortage of power. Investments need also a crackdown on influential tribal figures who use their influence and power to exercise pressure on investors to share them in return of the so-called “protection service”. This is really ridiculous and demonstrates the absolute absence of law and order. No investors will even think of coming to the country if they know they have to get the protection of influential figures rather than law and order. The government has also to address the administrative bureaucracy and improve the professional skills of the government civil servants who can run the work procedures very quickly.

Those are really the prerequisites the government of Mujawar has to address if it really wants to attract foreign investments into the country which would consequently revive the already fragile economy pregnant with a lot of pitfalls. On his side, H.E. the president Ali Abdullah Saleh, as usual, advised the government not to submit to the pressure of the influential guys, launch a war on corruption, and create a good environment for investment. I know this is not something new but Mujawar has to take the speech of Saleh seriously and works towards that end. He either accepts the peril and the challenge by insisting on implementing his program that has to be well- planned or gives in to the pressure of the influential figures and the cronies around the president and thus fails his people.

The cabinet has to succeed because it is being eyed by the international donor community which is concerned about the future of this country that, if the situation continues to worsen, would fall into the trap of chaos. A lot of support to Yemen depends on the good operation of this government. So, let's keep our fingers crossed for the last time that this cabinet would achieve some fruitful results.

Mohammed Al-Qadhi ([email protected]) is a Yemeni journalist and columnist.