The Economic Reform Program Less Duties for the Government, and the Weakness of Successful Authorities [Archives:2000/05/Business & Economy]

January 31 2000

Ali Abdulla Al-Gail
One is totally astonished when looking at the steps initiated and followed by the government since the implementation of the Reform Program. Every citizen feels that these steps are unfair to him and have taken the nice smile, the self-confidence, and the dignity away from the Yemeni faces, which were known for that forever.
Nonetheless, the government is continuously arguing and insisting that the country was rescued by the surgeries that were conducted by the government which resulted in the stability of the exchange rate at YR 160 for $1 forgetting that it was only YR 60 before implementing the Reform Program.
Besides this huge collapse of the individuals’ incomes that caused an equivalent collapse of morals, social and economical instability and an increase of bribery, cheating, and forgeries- an observer expects a similar collapse in the quality of the services provided by the state in the fields of road construction, health, education, water and electricity supply.
Apparently the state under misleading advice is getting away from its duties towards funding these services and putting them to organizations funded by loans and grants that will end one day. Only then we will all discover that the state has forgotten its responsibilities towards the citizens and it’s stuck trying to find financiers for the urgent services.
Indeed, to prove, one can look through the repeated items of the government Investment Project List during the past years. Then a comparison of these to those funded by loans or grants with consideration of the degree of seriousness in implementing both, will give all the evidence. When a visitor asking for a service project at any Ministry, the answer is always, “we have no budget” or ” we are looking for loan!! So what is left for the government to do? Where are our own resources?
What is more dangerous is that, there are hands trying to outreach the successful projects of this government and the previous ones. They are trying to remove or freeze the best achievements in smart ways such as emerging, dividing privatizing, reducing budgets and, É etc.
One can not avoid the idea that the World Bank and the Donor countries have a role in convincing the government of taking some unfair steps against the successful authorities, funds, and organizations. This is taking in consideration reports of corruption of some types. Definitely, there is corruption in these authorities as well as in the whole system. However, it is less effective in damaging when accompanied by success, and achievements if there is a strong intention to fight corruption, it should start by those organizations that are less achieving and more corrupted. And to fight corruption we must not at all stop building the infrastructures.
It is significant, that the organizations, authorities and funds supporting the government has provided during few years more than what was provided by the state’s investment program for many years. It has become the whole government in the eyes of people due to the significance of its services that can be found in the town as well as the country.
A good example is the GAREW, The General Authority for Rural Electricity and Water. Mr. President in one of his several visits to the country highly appreciated the GAREW. He said that whenever he sees a water net in a remote village he sees an evidence of the state, something really exists.
We too as people of the country must hail the GAREW for the services provided for the rural areas at a price that something goes to 50% of that of towns served by the EGC and the GCWS. When one looks at the GAREW budget and the implemented projects and the geographical area coverage, one would feel respect for its achievements and whoever participated in making them available.
The same applies to the rest of the authorities and funds such as the general authority for Roads and Bridges, the Agricultural and Fisheries fund, the youth fund, the Social Security fund, the general authority for insurance and Pensions, the Yemeni Board for Roads and Bridges, É etc. These big names are providing services and support to the citizens during difficult times.
The government might be advised wrongly that the existence of more than one organization to provide the same service is an unnecessary load on the back of the budget and something that should be removed. It is said that this causes duality in implementing these projects. I completely disagree with that. Our country is vast and it needs great efforts toward development at least for a coming 10 years.
As for the duality problem, the existing laws and charters are able to organize and specify duties of every authority and every body in the administrative system.
To conclude, one should plead to the government not to destroy its major organizations and to think before feeling sorry. If you can not support them and increase their revenues please, at least, leave them alone. Remember, they might be of great value at the parliament!